Dr. JOSEF SCHICK, UND Dr. M. Frhr. v. WALDBERG,
o. o. PROFESSOR AN DER UNIVERSITAT a. o. PROFESSOR AN DER MIVERSITAT
MACHIAVELLI AND THE ELIZABETHAN DRAMA.
VERLAG VON EMIL FELBER.
VERLAG VON EMIL FELBER
All rights preserved.
To My Father
In Love and Gratitude.
I. Machiavelli in English Literature previous to the Drama . . 14
II. Machiavelli in the Drama 30
One word by way of preface is necessary for the
understanding of this dissertation. Four years ago when
first making the acquaintance of Kyd, Marlowe, Greene,
Peele, Jonson, Chapman, Marston, Dekker, Middleton, Webster,
Massinger, Ford, and other of Shakspere's great contem-
poraries, I was struck by the number of times Machiavelli
and Aretino were referred to, and the reckless manner in
which, what I then supposed to be the former's political
principles, were cited and put into practice by the villains
of dramatic literature. Having determined to investigate
to what extent this had been done, a careful study was
first made of Machiavelli: then the drama was reread. To
my surprise, I found that what the Elizabethans reverted
to so often as the maxims of the Florentine statesman, were,
in four cases out of^five , not to be found in his writings
at all; but were perverted from the same in a manner in-
finitely unjust. The natural conclusion was, that they could
not have been taken directly from the works of the great
politician. This was strengthened by the fact that, (with
the exception of the "Arte della Guerra", a work of minor
import, translated by Whitehorne in 1560/62, 1573/74, 1588,
and the "Storia Fiorentina", translated by Bedingfield in
1595) the weightiest writings of Machiavelli remained un-
Englished till Dacre's version of the "Discorsi" in 1636 and
of the "Principe" in 1640: i. e. his 'real political axioms
were not given to the English public in its own language
until half a century after the dramatists were making, or
rather, thought they were making, such prodigal use of
While ransacking the British Museum for more light
on the subject, I came across Gentillet's "Discours sur les
Moyens de bien gouverner et maintenir en bonne paix un
Eoyaume ou autre Principaute . . . Contre Nicholas Machiavel,
Florentin, 1576", popularly called "Contre-Machiavel", which,
as students know from Mohl ("Geschichte und Literatur der
Staatswissenschaften"), and Villari ("Niccolo Machiavelli e
i suoi tempi"), was wide read and used by the Florentine's
antagonists during the 16 th and 17 th centuries. Scarcely
were a few pages perused, when it became perfectly evident,
that this was the book from which the dramatists drew: a
careful study of the same, together with the discovery that
an English translation was made by one Simon Patericke
in 1577, the year after its appearance in French, has proved
Gentillet, beyond a doubt, the source of all the Elizabethan
Dr. Grosart, in his edition of Quarles (III, 334), re-
marks: "It were one of the "Curiosities of Literature" to
bring together the many early references in our literature
to the famous Italian, Machiavelli (and so Mahomet)." He
might have added Aretino, more often cited and calumniated
than the other two combined. The same erudite scholar
notes in his "Poems of Marston" (243): "I have suggested
to the biographer of the renowned Machiavelli (Professor
Villari of Florence) that an odd chapter might be written
on the scare that his name was for long in England: so
much so that he came to be regarded as an incarnation of
the Evil One himself. Probably such chapter will be written."
Such, however, was never composed for reasons which
Dr. Grosart kindly imparted to me in a letter, dated "Bank
Villa, Dublin. 18 th Sept. 1895.": "Eheu! Just before my
utter break-down from overwork I had drawn up a list of
(I think) 310 references in old English literature to Machia-
velli , intending to forward it to Prof. Villari as a contri-
bution to his great life of Machiavelli. But unluckily in
clearing out the chaos of my papers this elaborate list must
have got into the waste-paper basket or flames: for it has
never turned up. For two years I was almost completely
laid aside, and so the matter passed from my memory. It was
a singularly curious list, and your letter renews the pang
of its loss."
During the course of reading I have noted no less than
395 references to Machiavelli in Elizabethan literature, (and
over 500 to Aretino which I hope to incorporate in the
near future). To publish these alone would, indeed, be to
make an unique addition to Disraeli; it seemed more ad-
visable, however, to arrange them in chronological order as far
as possible, and use the citations in popular literature as a
foil to those in the drama, omitting such as were mere
mentions of the name, or had no contingency with "the
bugbear of the stage" and its villainy. As in most works
dealing with the period under discussion, this thesis treats
mainly of the acted drama, though the book -drama is
occasionly adverted to where apposite. Absolutely no pre-
tension has been made to literary style; the facts having
been expressed as baldly and succinctly as possible. The
utmost conservatism has been used throughout, for as Burd
has shown, but few of Machiavelli's renowned maxims ori-
ginate strictly with him: they were more the result of his
classic reading. Thus, to take e. g. the principle, most used
by the dramatists:
"Essendo adunque un principe necessitate sapere bene
usare la bestia, debbe di quella pigliare la volpe ed
il leone; perche il lione non si difende dai lacci, la
volpe non si difende da' lupi. Bisogna adunque essere
volpe a conoscere i lacci, e lione a sbigottire i lupi."
Plutarch said :
TCOV S' dj;iovvT(oi> ttr] noheut-Zv f^sra SoKov rovs a.cp l i
xarayekar kxeheve' ortov yap fj heovrrj urj e^
exel tr]v al(oney.riv . Lysander VII.
"Quum autem duobus modis, id est, aut vi aut fraude,
fiat ini'uria; fraus quasi vulpeculae, vis leonis videtur^
utrumque homine alienissimum ; sed fraus odio digna
majore. Totius autem injustitiae nulla capitalior est,
quam eorum, qui, quum maxime fallunt, id agunt, ut
viri boni videantur." De. Off. I, 13.
and the probable source in the end is Pindar:
ev novm' fifftiv S'dhcoTirj^, alerov ai' avamrvafiiva yoftfiov %o%et.
%pr] 6 TIO.V %()<$ovt duavocooai IQV sffioov. Isth. Odes 3. 63 sqq.
Greene acknowledged Plutarch as his source in "Selimus";
Jonson refers often enough to Cicero and Pindar.
I would here most respectfully beg the honor of ex-
pressing my sincere gratitude to Prot. Dr. Schick, Prof.
Dr. Braune and Prof. Dr. Neumann of the "Grofsherzogliche
Euprecht-Karls-Universitat" in Heidelberg, and to ProL
Dr. Sievers, Prof. Dr. Wiilker, and Prof. Dr. von Bahder
of the "Konigliche Sachsische Universitat" in Leipzig, for
the guidance of my University studies.
The Source of Machiavellianism in the Elizabethan Drama.
"Truely the world has had a pother with this
little Niccolo Macchiavelli and his perverse
little Book." Cavlyle: "Fred. II."
All students of Elizabethan literature must have observed,
that to most authors of this period , Machiavelli appeared
as the very devil incarnate, or, at least, as the incorporation
of all hypocrisy. To understand the peculiar light, the
demoniac aureole. which palliated the true Machiavelli 1 ) from
Marlowe, Shakspere, Jonson, Chapman, and their contempo-
raries, it is essential to cast a bird's-eye view over the
reception, accorded to the great politician's work (II Principe)
from his own day to that of Elizabeth. The "Principe" is
the book by which the Florentine is best known; and it
*) This chapter is based upon the researches ofMtti: "Machiavelli
nella vita e nelle opere", Villari: ; 'Niccol6 Machiavelli e i suoi tempi",
Leo : "Studien und Skizzen zu einer Naturlehre des Staates", Burd : ,,11
Principe", Mohl: "Die Geschichte und Literatur der Staatswissen-
schaften", Janet: "Histoire de la science politique dans ses rapports
avec la morale", and others less important.
] ) Cf. Ward : " that old bug-bear of English theatrical audiences,
Macchiavelli, who is the villain proper of the piece" [Lee's "Caesar
Borgia"] Hist. Dram. Poet. II, 545. -
Cf. Grosart: "Hall's Poems" (231) "Machiavelli came in vulgar
speech and belief to typify the Devil".
Meyer, Machiavelli. 1
has called fortli almost all the comment. Since it contained
the very gist of all Machiavelli's political writings, and,
as will be seen, was the source (at second-hand) of all the
Elizabethan "scare", that work, alone, calls for consideration
in the present discussion.
The "Principe" was planned in April *) and completed 2 )
in December 3 ) 1513. It remained in MS. until five years
after the author's death, but was, never-the-less, widely
read. In 1523, Nifo deliberately pirated 4 ) the whole trea-
tise, translated it into Latin with interpolations, and published
it as his own, 5 ) adding a chapter of "antidote to the poison" :
which method as will be shown, was much followed by
French and English writers in the time of Elizabeth and
Clement VII decreed, 6 ) Aug. 23. 1531, the publication
of Machiavelli's works; in 1532 appeared two editions of
the "Principe"; one by Blado, the other by Giunta. 7 ) In
the following eighteen years there were no less than twenty-
three editions in Italian. The first English translation of
which there is a copy extant appeared in 1640. 8 ) The
l ) Mach. Op. VIII, 36 : Letter to Vettori. (The edition used through-
out is the "Italia" 1813.)
-} Leo has no authority for the statement that the last chapter
was an afterthought for Lorenzo de'' Medici. Cf. "Studien und
Skizzen" p. 36.
3 ) Mach. Op. VIII, 96 : Letter to Vettori.
4 ) Nourisson, Mach. 1883, ch. 1214.
5 ) Augustini Niphi Medicae philosophi suessoui de regnandi peritia
ad Caroluni V Imper. Caesarem semper Augustum. Neapoli 1523.
Cf. Burd: "II Prin." p. 44.
) Papal hull in Amico: La Vita di Nic. Mach. 1876, p. 415.
7 ) Blado's ed. contains "II Principe", "Ritratti delle cose della
Francia" and "Ritratti delle cose della Alarnagna" : Giunta's, these three
together with "Vita di Castruccio Castracani" and "II Modo die temie
il Duca Valentino nello ammazzare Vitellozzo Vitelli".
8 ) "Nicholas Machiavel's Prince also the Life of Castruccio Castracani
of Lucca and the means Duke Valentine us'd to put to death Vitelozzo
H Elizabethan play-wrights had the "Prince" always within
easy reach, however, in the French translation of 1553 ; J )
and in that of lf)8(>. -) which appeared just when the great
drama was burgeoning. To scholars it was known by the
Latin translations of 1560, 1566, 1581, 1589, 1594, 1599,
1622, 1648 etc. etc. There may have been an English
edition, now lost, earlier than that of 1640; for this most
widely read of all Machiavelli's works would hardly have
remained unenglished, when less important works, such as
"The Arte of Warre", 8 ) and "The Florentine Historic", 4 )
had been published. The "Discourses" 6 ) and Belphegor 6 )
appeared much later.
. The "Principe", even in the year after its composition,
must have called forth comment, if not denunciation; for
Budnaccorsi mentions such 7 ) in a letter to Pandolfus Bellacio.
Vitelli, Oliverotto of Fermo, Paul, and the Duke of Gravina. Translated
out of Italian by E[dward] D[acres]." pp. 305. London 1640. 12.
The "Prince" appeared again with the "Discourses" in 1663 61:
2nd ed. 1674.
1 ) "Le Prince .... Traduit d'ltalien en Franc,oys par G. Cappel.
2 ) ,,Les Discours .... Ensemble un livre du mesme auteur intitule
le Prince." Kouen 1586.
3 ) "The Arte of Warre Set forthe in Englishe by P. White-
home. 1560-62, 157374, 1588."
4 ) "The Florentine Historic .... Translated into English by
T[homas] B[edinfield] Esquire 1595."
5 ) The "Discourses" were translated very shortly before "The
Prince" by the same author: ,,Machiavel's Discourses .... with some
marginal animadversions by E[dward] D[acres] 1636. All translations
after 1666 are beyond the discussion : of importance, however, are "Flor.
Hist," by M. R. 1674. "Complete Works" by [Henry Nevile] 1675, 1680,
1694, 1720: by Farneworth 1762, 1775.
6 ) "The Devil a Married Man" [Machiavelli's Belphegor] 1647.
Brit. Mus. [Cat.]
7 ) "Ti mando 1'operetta, composta, nuovamente de' Principati dal
nostro Niccolo Machiavelli nella quale tu troverai con somma dilucidata
e brevita descritte tutte le qualita de' Principati .... Ricevilo adunque
con quella prontezza che si ricerca, e preparati acerrinio difensore contro
Vettori, like Machiavelli a profound thinker, expressed the
delight which it gave to politicians. 3 ) Guicciardim, as is
well known, praised the work highly. It was, however,
resented by many; and Bussini did not hesitate to ascribe
to it the refusal of the "Ten" to receive Machiavelli 2 ) into
service again at the enfranchisement of Florence in 1527.
Up to 1532, there is no evidence that the prhna facie in-
tention of the book was doubted ; but in that year, Giunta
prefixed to his edition a letter broaching the double entendre
view, 3 ) which was to become so popular.
Farneworth 4 ) thought, that the idea of the "Prince" a
satire originated with Gentilis ; but many years before the latter's
"De Legatibus", Cardinal Pole published, in 1535, his "De
a tutti quelli, che per malignita o invidia lo volessino, secondo 1'uso
di questi tempi , mordere e lacerare." Mach. Op. I, XLII. This was
written in 1514. Polidori : Arch. St. Ital., vol. IV pt. 2. Cf. also Burd,
op. cit. 34.
*) Ho visto e' capitoli dell' Opera vostra, e mi piacciono oltre a
modo. Vettori to Mach. June 15, 1514.
2 ) "Cerco con grande instanza di entrare nel suo luogo dei Dieci,
Zanobi e Luigi lo favorivano assai, ma M. Baldassari, e Niccolo di
Braccio lo disfavorivano : e 1'universale per conto del suo Principe; ai
ricchi pareva che quel Principe fosse stato un documento da insegnare
al Duca tor loro tutta la roba, e a' poveri tutta la liberta. Ai Piagnoni
pareva che e' fosse eretico, ai buoni disonesto, ai tristi piu tristo, o
valente di loro : talche ognuno 1'odiava."
Bussini a Varchi. Jan. 23, 1549. Lett, di Gio. Buss. p. 75.
s ) "Al Molto Reverendo Monsignore Messer Giovanni Gaddi ....
U. S. R. la quale (anchor che forse non ben degno de la sua graudezza)
10 pigliera nondiineno volentieri; et con quello animo, ch' io glielo
porgo ; et lo difendera da quegli, che per il soggetto suo lo vanno tutto
11 giorno lacerando si aspramente : non sapendo, che quegli, che 1' herbe
et le medicine insegnano; insegnano parimente anchora i veleni; solo
accioche da quegli ci passiamo cognoscendogli guardare : ne s'accorgono
anco, che egli non e arte, ne scientia alcuna: la quale non si possa da
quegli, che cattivi sono, usare malamente: et chi dira mai, che il ferro
fusse trovato piu tosto per ammazzare gli huomini, che per difendersi
da gli animali? Princ. ed. Giunta 1532 p. I.
*) Farnew. op. cit. I, 482.
Thiitatejgcclesiae", which imputed this solution of the book's
meaning to Muchiavelli himselfl.. 1 ) Gentilis merely follows
le Cardinal, but says nothing, relative to the source of
the theory. 2 ) Burd says: "it is impossible to call in question
J ole's honesty"; but let any one read the great Cardinal's
vile, dishonest defamation *) of Machiavelli dead, and then
ask himself, if the integrity of a man, who could write
thus, is to be relied upon when inspired by rabid anta-
That Matteo 4 ) supported the same theory forty-three years
later merely shows he was conversant with Pole's writings.
*) "At vero, quod ad Machiavellian attinet, si verum sit, quod
Floreutiae superior! hyeme cum eo in itinere divertissem, cum de occa-
sione scribendi ilium librum, turn de animi ejus in eodem proposito
audivi, de hac caecitate et ignorautia aliqua ex parte excusari potest,
ut eum turn excusabunt cives ejus cum sermone introducto de illius
libro lianc impiam caecitatem objecissem; ad quod illi responderunt
idem, quod dicebant ab ipso Machiavello, cum idem illi aliquando oppo-
neretur, fuisse responsum. se non solum quidem judicium suum in illo
libro fuisse sequuturn, sed illius ad quern scriberet, quern cum sciret
tyrannica natura fuisse, ea inseruit, quae non potuerunt tali naturae
non maxim e exoptabat, cum intus odio flagraret illius Principis, ad
queni scriberet; neque aliud spectasse in eo libro, quam scribendo ad
tyrannurn ea quae tyranno placent, eum sua sponte ruentem praecipi-
tem, si posset, clare. Haec quidem illi, ut caecitatem mentis Machiavelli
excusarent." Epis. Reg. Pole: 1744 p. 151.
2 ) u Sui propositi non est Tyrannum instruere, sed arcanis ejus palain
factis, ipsurn miseris populis nudum et conspicuuni exhibere. An enim
tales quales ipse describit Principes fuisse plurimos ignoramus!" Gent.
3. Legat. lib. Ill, c. 9.
3 ) "Talem auteni librum ilium inveni scriptuni ab hoste hurnani
generis, in quo omnia hostis consilia explicantur, et modi quibus religio,
pietas, et omnes virtutis indoles, facilius destrui possent. Liber eniin
itsi hominis nomen et stylum prae se ferat, tamen, vix coepi legere,
Satanae digito scriptuni agnoscerem .... oninern malitiam Satanae
lolent. Inter reliqua vero librum de Principe fecit .... in quo talem
nobis Principem exprimit qualem certe, si Satanas in carne regnaret,
et nliurn haberet, quern post se in regno relicturus esset, cum carneni
consummasset. non alia prorsus praecepta filio suo daret." Pole, op. cit. 136.
4 ) Peplus Ital. 1578. p. 52. Cf. Burd 38.
Thus the. English Cardinal was the first to really proclaim
the double entendre theory, broached by Giunta, and^ to de-
nounce Macliiavelli as in league with the devil : this is to
be borne in minfl ; it. bftiPg of singular significance for the
Florentine's later reputation in England. In 1540, Varchi
praised Machiavelli highly, but inveighed bitterly against
the "Principe"; and made the absurd statement, which no
one else has adopted, that the author sought to destroy
this his best work. 1 ) _The progress of the reformation
naturally called forth from the Romish church an attack
upon all writings which_questioned the infallibility of the
Po^ej Machiavelli had promulgated views^entirelv too
emancipated, and could not escape condemnation. In ^550,
TV^7 jo fjp.noiipcp.fi him to t.hp. Tnqm'sitjorL Two years .later/
Ambrogio Gateriiio polemicised fiercely against the "Dis-
corsi"jand jthe "Principe", in his "De libris a christiano
detestandis". 2 ) This was followed in the same year by the
rabid assault of the famous Ossorio. Two points in Machia-
velli's writings were especially oppugned; the daring com-
parison of Christianity with Paganism (Discorsi II, 2), and
the strictures upon Moses (Principe VI). In 1557, Paulus
Jovius proclaimed him an illiterate atheist ; 3 ) and the Je-
suits burned him in effigy 4 ) at Ingolstadt. In the same
year at Rome the Inquisition decreed the utter destruction
*) "Quell' opera (il Principe) .... empia veramente e da clover
essere non solo biasimata, ma spenta, come cerco di fare egli stesso
dopo il rivolgimento dello stato, non essendo ancora stampata." Stor.
Fior. I, 210.
2 ) In the chapter "Quam execrandi Machiavelli Discursus et In-
stitutis sui Principis."
3 ) He calls him "atheos" and says: "Nulla vel certe mediocris
Latinarum literarum cognitio fuit." Paul. Jov. Elog. cap. 87.
4 ) Apponendovi questa inscrizione: "Quoniam fuit homo vafer ac
subdolus, diabolicarum cogitationum faber optimus, cacodaemonis auxi-
liator." Ugo Foscolo: Prose letterarie 1850 vol. II p. 452. Villari
of Machiavelirs__wprks^ *) and two y ears _. later ...the__ edict
was published. .The Council of Trent confirmed the index;
and it was reissued in ISG^^^r^m^thi^time on thejten^
cty apparent in Pol^/^axsjii. Ossorio. and Jovi
to judge Machiavelli more by Uiear- say/than by knowledge"? 7 '"
of his works became^jQ^Uirall} r ,v6rf ^mafeed. *
We have now to look for a moment at the French
popular criticism <>f Machiavelli, which, as will be seen, was /
tin- main source of all the Elizabethan misunderstanding. ,
In a pamphlet , falsely fathered upon Henri Estienne, 3 )
Catherine de' Medici is accused of having brought Machia-
ve.lli's works to France. 4 ) In 1576 ? Gentillet dedicated a
refutation 5 ) of the "Principe" to Alenc.on, and received
nothing but ridicule from him in return. ) He ascribed
to Machiavelli's 7 ) writings, not only the massacre~of St. Bar-
J ) Cf. Burd 49.
2 ) So thorough was the suppression of his works that Lucchesini
preaching against him at this time, could only read them by special
Papal licence. Cf. Villari II, 414.
The second edition of the Cruscan Dictionary dared not name him,
but citing him for the purity of his style, called him simply "un' secre-
tario Fiorentino" cf. Farnew. I, 474.
8 ) Mark. Pattison: Essays I, 120.
4 ) "Catherine de' Medicis est Italienne et Florentine .... Les
Florentins .... se soucient pen de leur conscience : veulent sembler
religieux et non pas 1'estre, faisons grand cas (comme aussi Machiavel,
Fun de leurs premiers politiques, le conseille a son Prince) de ce qu'avoit
jadis fort sou vent en la bouche 1'ambitieux Ixion,
Cherche d'avoir d'homme droit le renom,
Mais les effets et justes oeuvres non.
Fay seulement cela dont tu verras
Que recevoir du profit tu pourras."
6 ) "Discours sur les Moyens de bien gouverner et maintenir en
bonne paix un Royaume ou autre Principaute : Divisez en trois Parties ;
a savoir, du Couseil, de la Religion et Police que doit tenir un Prince:
Contre Nicholas Machiavel, Florentin. A Treshaut et Tres - illustre
Prince Frangois Due d'Alen^on fils et frere de Roy. 1576."
6 ) Cf. La Popiliniere: Hist, des Hist. VII, 405.
7 ) "Dont Ton pourroit esbahir, que veut dire qu'on n'en parloit du
tholomew, a ) but also the whole French policy, from Henry II
to Charles IX and Henry III, 2 ) who were generally believed
to be well read in "the Queen-Mothers bible". a )
< entillet states the maxims of the Principe" a/nd
Discorsi" very succinctly and very unfairlvj_fpr he say_s
nothing of why or how these books were constructed^ Jiis
refutations are rather long-winded, covering 639 pages.
As Mohl says, this work became the great arsenal, 4 ) from
tout point en France du regne de Frangois I, ny encores que fort pen
du regne dn Roy Henry II, et que settlement depuis eux le nom de
Machiavel a commence a estre cognu dec,a les moiits, et ses escrits en
reputation. La response a cela n'est pas trop obscure a ceux qui savent
comment les afaires de France on este gouvernez depuis le decez du feu
Roy Henry II, d'heureuse memoire Car de son regne et auparavant
on s'estoit toujours 'gouverne a la Franchise, c'est a dire, en suyuant
les traces et enseignemens de nos ancestres Frangois, rnais depuis on
s'est gouverne a 1'Italienue ou a la Florentine, c'est a dire, en suyuant
les enseignemens de Machiavel Florentiu, comme nous verrons cy apres."
Gent. p. 8.
*) Villari II, 417.
2 ) Davila says Corbinelli used to read the Prince to Henry III.
Of. Davila trans. Farueworth I, 402. Again: "Bourcher asserted that
Henry III carried him [Mach.] in his pocket : qui perpetuus ei in sacculo
atque manibus est: and Montaigne confirms the story when he says:
Et diet on, de ce temps, que Machiavel est encores ailleurs en credit."
Acton, Intro, to Burd. XXIII.
3 ) "Some have related that Catharine de' Medici, Queen to Henry II
of France, made the "Prince" her particular study and put it into the
hands of her children" .... The author of the "Tocsain contre les
Massacreurs" p. 54 observes that Charles IX had been very ill edu-
cated .... the Queen caused her children to be taught such precepts
as were fitter for a Tyrant then a vertuous Prince, making them read
not only the foolish stories of Perceforest, but above all the treatise
[II Principe] of that Atheist Machiavel, whose aim was to teach a
Prince rather how to make himself feared than beloved .... And in-
deed one may call that book the Queen-Motheris Bible."
Farnew. I, 489.
4 ) "Das Arsenal, aus welchem sie die Waifen gegeu den Feind
holten, .die selbst zu schmieden sie zu trage waren." Mohl, Gesch. u.
Lit. d. Staatswis. Ill, 541.
which future would-be combatants drew their weapons.
In this striking 1 group of maxims, each expressed in two
or three lines, Burd ') saw rightly the rise of so-called
"Machiavellism". It is from this "Centre - Machiavel",
published in 1576 2 nd ed. ly\ translated into English
in_l_577, that the Elizabethan dramatists drew, far more
than from Machiavelli himself; as did also the critics of
tlic .seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. For this reason,
it is necessary to consider the main features of the work.
Gentillet followed Jovius in^proclaimin^Machiavelli Illiterate -)
in the very subject he sought to expound, and in^ denouncing
him as an atheist. 8 j His writings were made exclusively
to inculcate tyranny: 4 ) which no one ever knew better how
to do. fi ) The zealous Frenchman declared the Florentine,
"remply de toute meschancete et ignorance"; that he was
"banny et chasse de Florence"; that his life was most
vicious, 6 ) and that he had been the author "de mepris de
Dieu, de perfidie, de Sodomie, tyrannie, cruaute, pilleries,
usures estrangeres et autres vices destestables". He had
*) "These maxims were commonly accepted as an adequate summary,
and it is impossible not to feel that they are, in a large degree, respon-
sible for Machiavellism." Burd p. 54.
2 ) "Mais mon but est seulement de monstrer que Nicholas Machiavel
Florentin . . . . n'a rien entendu, ou pen, en ceste science Politique ....
que Machiavel a este du tout ignorant en ceste science II n'avoit
aussi point, ou peu de savoir aux Histoires." p. 34.
;! " Machiavell, qui s'est monstre par ses escrits un vray atheiste
et contempteur de toute piete." p. 14. "Machiavel, un vray atheiste
et contempteur de Dieu." p. 141. This occurs again and again.
4 ) "De toutes ces choses Machiavel en traite en telle sorte qu'il
est aise a cognoistre que son but a este d'instruire le Prince a estre
un vray Tyran, et a luy enseigner 1'art de Tyrannie." p. 251.
5 ) Bien veux-ie confesser qu'au gouvernement d'un estat de
Tyrannie, Machiavel a este mieux entendu que nul autre que i'aye leu,
tant bien a-il sc,eu tous les points et enseiguements qui son propres pur
1'establir, comme nous verrons cy apres en traitant ses maximes. p. 13.
6 ) " il ne fut ianiais homme au monde plus fouille et contamine
de tous vices et meschancetez que luy." p. 5. cf. p. 623.
taught a prince " a se despouiller de toute piete, conscience
et Keligion". By his doctrines also great wealth was to
be acquired. 1 ) All that was bad in his writings was his
own: all the good had been stolen from Livy 2 ) and
Barthole.' 3 )
Since it will be necessary to keep always in mind
the maxims taken from Machiavelli by Gentillet, they are
here given exactly as in the first edition.
A) Maximes de la premiere partie, traitant du conseil
que doit avoir un Prince.
1. Le bon conseil d'un Prince doit proceder de sa
prudence mesme, autrement il ne peut estre bien conseille.
2. Le Prince, pour eviter flateurs, doit defendre a
ceux de son conseil, qu'ils ne luy parlent ne donnent conseil,
sinon des choses dont il leur entamera propos, et demandera
3. Le Prince ne se doit fier aux estrangers.
B) Maximes de la seconde partie, traitant de la Religion
que doit avoir un Prince.
1. Un prince, sur toutes choses, doit appeter d'estre
estime devot, bien qu'il ne le soit pas.
*) "Nous voyons a 1'ceil et touchons an doigt 1'avarice des Italiens
(Machiavellistes) qui nous mine et ruine et qui succe toute nostre sub-
stance, et ne nous laisse rien. Les uns out le maniement des fermes,
douanes, gabelles et domaines, a tel prix qu'ils veulent, et void on
fondre les derniers entre leurs mains, sans qu'il apparoisse que rien, ou
peu, soit converty au profit de la chose publique. Les autres attrapent
les grands estats, offices et benefices, par le moyen desquels les deniers
de France leur, es mains. Et ceux qui n'ont moyen de manier les afaires
du public tiennent banques es bonnes villes, ou ils exercent usures
immences et exorbitantes .... font souvent revenir leur deniers a raison
de cinquante voire du cent pour cent." p. 1516.
*) P- 6.
3 ) p. 251254.
2. Le Prince doit soustenir ce qui est faux en la
Religion, pourveu que cela tourne en faveur d'icelle.
3. La Religion des Payens leur tenoit le coeur haut
et hardy a entreprendre grandes choses: mais la Religion
des chrestiens les ramenant a humilite, leur affoiblit le coeur
et les expose en proye.
4. Les grands Docteurs de la Religion Chrestienne,
par grande obstination, ont tasche d'abolir la memoire des
>onnes lettres et de tout antiquite.
5. Quand on delalssa la Religion Payenne le monde
devint tout corrompu, et vint a ne croire plus ny Dieu ny
6. L'Eglise Romaine est cause de toutes les calamitez
7. Moy se n'eust jamais pen faire observer ses ordonnances,
si main armee luy eust failly.
8. Moyse usurpa la Judee, comme les Goths usurperent
partie de 1'Empire Romain.
9. La Religion de Numa fut la principale cause de la
felicite de Rome.
10. L'homme est heureux tant qut * rrtune s'aceorde
a la complexion et humeur d'iceluy.
C) Maximes de la troisiesme partie, traitant de la police
que doit avoir un Prince.
1. La guerre est juste qui est necessaire, et les rames
raisonnables, quand on ne peut avoir esperance d'ailleurs.
2. Pour faire qu'un Prince retire du tout sa fantasie
de faire paix en accord avec ses adversaires luy faut faire
user de quelque tour outrageux contre iceux.
3. Un Prince en pays conquis doit establir Colonies,
du moins en lieux plus forts, et en chasser les naturels
4. Le Prince en pays nouvellement conquis doit abbatre
tous cenx qui^souffrent grand' perte au changement, et du
tout exterminer le sang* et la race de ceux qui auparavant
5. Pour se venger d'un pays ou d'une cite, sans coup
ferir, la faut remplir de meschantes moeurs.
6. C'est folie de penser que nouveaux plaisirs facent
oublier vieilles offences aux grands Seigneurs.
7. Le Prince se doit proposer a imiter Caesar Borgia
fils du Pape Alexandre sixiesme.
8. Le Prince ne doit se soucier d'estre repute cruel,
pourveu qu'il se face obeir.
9. Mieux vaut a tin Prince d'estre craint qu'aime.
10. Le Prince ne se doit fier en 1'amitie des hommes.
11. Le Prince qui veut faire mourir quelqu'un, doit
cercher quelque couleur apparentre, et n'en sera point
blasme, pourveu qu'il laisse les biens aux enfans.
12. Le Prince doit ensuyure la nature du Lyon, et
du Eenard: non de 1'un sans 1'autre.
13. Cruaute qui tend a bonne fin n'est reprehensible.
14. II faut qu'un Prince exerce cruaute tout en un
coup, et face plaisir peu a pen.
15. L T n T~ .1 vertueux pour maintenir sa tyrannic,
doit entretenir partialitez entre ses sujets, et tuer les
amateurs du bien public.
16. Un Prince peut aussi bien estre hay pour sa
vertu, que pour son vice.
17. Le Prince doit tousiours nourrir quelque ennemy
contre soy, afin que venant a Fopprimer, il en soit estime
plus grand et redoutable.
18. Le Prince ne doit craindre de se perjurer, tromper
et dissimuler: car le trompeur trouve tousiours qui se
19. Le Prince doit savoir cavalier les esprits des
hommes pour les tromper.
20. Le Prince qui (comme par contrainte) usera de
douceur et gracieusete, avancera sa mine.
21. Le Prince prudent ne doit observer la foy, quand
Fobservation luy en est dommageable, et que les occasions
iui la luy ont fait promettre sont passees.
22. La foy, clemence, liberalite sont vertus fort
dommageables a un Prince; mais il est bon qu'il en ait le
n^' seulem ent.
23. Le Prince doit avoir 1'esprit dextrement habitue
a estre cruel, inhumain et desloyal, pour se savoir monstrer
tel, quand il est besoin.
* 24. Le Prince voulant rompre la paix promise et juree
avec son voisin, doit mouvoir guerre et s'attacher contre l'amy
25. Le Prince doit avoir le courage dispose a tourner
selon les vents et variation de fortune, et se savoir servir
du vice au besoin.
26. Chichete est louable en un Prince, et la reputation
de mechanique est un deshonneur sans malvueillance.
27. Le Prince qui voudroit fair estroitte profession
d'homme de bien, ne pourroit estre de longue duree en
ce monde, en la compagnie de tant d'autres qui ne valent
28. Les hommes ne savent estre du tout bons ou du
tout meschans, ny user de cruaute et violence parfaite.
29. Celuy qui a tousiours porte visage d'homme de
bien, et veut devenir meschant pour parvenir a quelque
degre, doit coulourer son changement de quelque raison
30. Le Prince en temps de paix entretenant partialite
entre ses sujets, pourra par ce moyen les manier plus
aisement a sa volonte.
31. Seditions et dissentions civiles sont utiles, et ne
sont a blasmer.
32. Le moyen de tenir les sujets en paix et union,
et les garder de se remuer, c'est de les tenir pauvres.
33. Le Prince qui craint ses sujets, doit bastir
forteresses en son pays, pour les tenir en obeissance.
34. Le Prince doit deleguer a autruy les afaires dont
1'execution est sujette a inimitie et se reserver ceux qui
despendent de sa grace.
35. Pour ministrer bonne justice, le Prince doit establir
grand nombre de juges.
36. Les gentls-hommes qui tienent chasteaux et
jurisdictions sont fort ennemis des Kepubliques.
37. La noblesse de France ruineroit Festat du
Royaume, si les Parlamens ne la punissoyent et tennoyent
Such of these maxims as the dramatists used, will be
compared with Machiavelli's own words later on: how
viciously, and unjustly they were singled out, must be
apparent to all students. An English translation, which
will be discussed in its place, was immediately made.
Having reached the source of Elizabethan Machiavellianism,
it would be irrelevant, however interesting, to follow
the general criticism of the Florentine farther.
I. Machiavelli in English Literature previous to
Italy was over two hundred years ahead of any other
modern nation in the renaissance; in the beginning of the
14 th century she had produced Dante, Petrarca, and
Boccaccio : less than two centuries later Machiavelli, Ariosto,
and Tasso. These brilliant lights, accompanied by lesser
luminaries, had all appeared before England, *) Germany,
France, and Spain, had emerged from medieval dusk.
England was the next country to awaken: naturally
she turned towards Italy, to see what had been brought
*) To be sure, Chaucer had lit up his country immediately after the
first great Italian trio ; but, when the glow of his genius died out, a
very gloomy twilight set in.
forth, and, finding an abundant harvest of good fruit,
helped herself copiously. English poetry fashioned itself
after the Italian, just as the English gentleman adopted
the fashions of the Italian ; but only until the novelty wore
off. and Englishmen perceived their own clothes were
stronger, fitted them better, allowed them to move more
comfortably, and even looked better on them than all the
foreign finery. In the middle of the 16 th century there
was aj^erfect rush of ffiifflislymen to Italy: they saw the
profligacy 2 ) of the courts, and imbibed somewhat, at least,
of their contempt for true religion and of their corrupt
living. 5 )
*) u The example of Italy was felt in all departments of study, in
every branch of intellectual activity. Three centuries ahead of us in
mental training-, with Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio, Ariosto and Tasso
already on their list of classics; boasting a multifarious literature of
novels, essays, comedies, pastorals, tragedies and lyrics ; with their great
histories of Guicciardini and Machiavelli ; with their political philosophy
and metaphysical speculations; the Italians as it was inevitable -
swayed English taste, and moved the poets of England to imitation.
Surrey and Wyatt introduced the sonnet and blank verse from Italy
into England. Spenser wrote the "Faery Queen" under the influence
of the Italian romantic epics. Raleigh could confer no higher praise on
this great poem than to say that Petrarch's ghost, no less than Homer's,
was moved thereby, to weeping for his laurels. Sidney copied the
Italians in his lyrics , and followed Sannazzaro in the Arcadia."
Symonds: Shak. Preds. 215.
2 ) "The [English] ladies spend the morning in devout prayer, not
resembling the gentlewoemen in Italy, who begin their morning at
midnoone, and make their evening at midnight, using sonnets for psalrnes,
and pastime for prayers .... The Englysh Damoselles .... are as
cunning in ye scriptures as you are in Ariosto or Petrach .... They
in England pray when you play, so we when you sleep, fast when you
feast, and weepe for their sins, when you laugh in your sensualitie."
Lyly: "Euphues" ed. Arber 442.
3 ) " heare, what the Italian sayth of the English man, what
the master reporteth of the scholar: who uttereth plainlie what is
taught by him, and what learned by you, saying Englese Italianato e
un diabolo incarnate, that is to say, you remain men in shape and
However undesired this justly seemed to some, the
tide continued to flow towards Italy: 1 ) certainly, to the
great benefit of English literature, if not of morals. (^Ascham
himself had been in Italy, and his denunciation of the
vicious life there, was that of many grave and sedate men.
He was the first to mention Machiavelli, 2 ) of whom he can
Jhavp. had hut very little knowledge ; fo_he_accuses him of
jipholding Catholicism !
,,Yet though in Italie they [Englishmen] may freely
be of no religion, as they are in Englande in verie
deede to, neverthelesse returning home into England
facion, but become devils in life and condition If some do not
well understand what is an Englishe man Italianated, I will plainly
tell him. He that by living-, and traveling- in Italic, bringeth home into
England out of Italie the Religion, the learning, the policie, the ex-
perience, the manners of Italie. That is to say, for Religion, Papistrie
or worse; for learning, lesse commonly than they carried out with
them : for pollicie, a factious hart, a discoursing head, a miude to medle
in all men's matters .... The Italian, that first invented the Italian
proverbe against our Englishe men Italianated meant no more their
vanitie in living, than their lewd opinion in Religion. For in calling
them Deviles, he carieth them cleane away from God: and yet he car-
rieth them noe farder, than they willing-lie go themselves, that is, where
they may freely say their mindes, to the open contempte of God and
all godliness, both in living and doctrine." Ascham: "Scholemaster"
ed. Arber 7881.
1 ) "It was thought that residence for some monthes in the chief
Italian capitals was necessary to complete a young man's education;
and though jealous moralists might shake their heads, averring that
English lads exchanged in Italy their learning for lewd living, their
religious principles for atheism, their patriotism for Machiavellian subt-
leties, their simplicities for affectations in dress and manners, yet the
custom continued to prevail, until at last in the reign of the first Stuart,
the English Court competed for the prize of immorality with the Courts
of petty Southern princes." Symonds, Sh. Preds. 215.
2 ) P. Whitehorne had translated "The Arte of Warre" in 1560,
but this relatively unimportant work remained apparently uncommented
upon. Vide ante p. 2. Cf. Herbert III, 1311.
they must countenance the profession of the one or
the other, howsoever inwardlie, they laugh to scorne
both. And though, for their private matters they
can follow, fawne and flatter noble Personages,
contrarie to them in all respectes, yet commonlie
they allie themselves with the worst Papistes, to
whom they be wedded, and do well agree togither
in three proper opinions : In open contempt of Goddes
worde : in a secret securitie of sinne : and in a bloodie
desire to have all taken away, by sword and bur-
ning, that be not of their faction. They that do
read, with indiiferent judgement, Pygius and Machia-
vel, two indifferent Patriarches of thies two Keligions
do know full well what I say trewe." Ascham.
op. cit. 83.
This is merely an echo of the fierce diatribes, which
religious controversy 3 ) had long ago called forth upon
Ascham wrote his "Scholem aster" after 1563 and be-
fore 1568 ; it was published in 1570. His assumption that
Machiavelli was known can apply only to scholars, for into
literature he had not yet found entrance. 2 )
Soon after Ascham's book, however, Machiavelli began
to interest English readers, jg_he had already done French.
The case of young Gabriel Harvey is typical of this move-
ment : at twenty-three years of age in 1573, a student at
Cambridge, he had not read the Florentine's works, but was
eager to see them, and begged Remington to loan him
"M. Remington, you remember I was in hand with
you not long agoe for your Machiavell, the greate
*) Vide ante p. 4.
2 ) Neither the popular pamphlets of the day, nor the works of
such "courtly makers" as Wyatt, Surrey, Grimoald, Berners, and their
immediate followers, indicate any knowledge whatever of Machiavelli.
Meyer, Machiavelli. 2
founder and master of pollicies. I praie you send
me him now bi this schollar, and I wil dispatch him
home againe, God willing, ere it be long, as politique
I hope as I shal find him. For I purpose to peruse
him only, not to misuse him: and superficially to
surveie his forrests of pollicie, not guilefully to con-
veie awaie his interest in them. Although I feare
me it had neede be a high point of pollicie, that
should rob Master Machiavel of his pollicie, espe-
cially if the surveier be himself an straunger in the
Italian territories In good sadnes, M. Remington
if ani dout greatly trubble me concerning the state
of ani citti, or the condition of ani person (for I
understand Machiavel is altogithers in his Italian
stories) I am purposid to make bowld of you, and to
crave your advise in the matter." 1 )
Incontinently Harvey was perusing, and reperusing,
Machiavelli and Aretine.' 2 )
"Owlde and yunge
For matter and tunge,
Machiavell, Aretine, and whome you will,
That ar any waye renown'd for extraordinary skill;
I reade and reade till I flinge them away,
And then goodnight studye, tomorrowe is hallidaye."
Op. cit. 135.
In this year also, appeared the second edition of
Whitehorne's "Arte of Warre". 3 )
Sidney, too, had become acquainted with Machiavelli's
works ; probably at Oxford : in the next year, (1574), he
1 ) G. Harvey: Letterbook ed. Scott (Camb. Soc.) 1884. p. 174.
2 ) Aretine became as typical of sensuality, as Machiavelli of
villainy, to the Elizabethans. The number of references to him is
3 ) Cf. Herbert II, 1064.
facetiously applies one of the remarks in the ,,Principe" to
his Languet, for censuring the English too severely.
"Nunquam adduci poteram, ut crederem Machiavellum
bene die nimia dementia fugienda sensisse. donee
usu idem mihi venerit, quod ille multis rationibus
probare conatus est. 1 )
Languet, in answer, jocosely calls Machiavelli Sidney's
friend. 2 )
"I admire the candour with which you warn me to
beware of you, for that is the meaning of your
fierce threats. But there you do not follow the advice
of your friend Machiavelli, unless perhaps it is fear
that has extorted those big and sounding words, and
you thought that so I might be deterred from my
intentions." s )
The quotations, hitherto made from English authors
(Ascham's 4 ) case excepted), show not the slightest tendency
to misinterpret or denounce Machiavelli : this is very signi-
ficant.^ In 1576 appeared Gentillet's ,,Anti-Machiavel",
_which, as has been seen T heaped all possible ignominy upon
.Jn the following year (1577), an English translation
was made_of Geniillet's book by Simon Patericke, 6 ) and
*) Sidney to Languet. Padua 29th April 1574. Letters ed.
-) It is interesting to note Symonds "Sir Ph. Sid." (198). ,,He
was equally removed from servility to his sovereign, and from the
underhand subtleties of a would-be Machiavelli."
*) Ibid. 71 (translated by Pears from Latin).
4 ) It must be remembered Ascham was influenced more by the old
religious controversy than by knowledge of Machiavelli.
5 ) He was an Englishman of Caister, Lincolnshire, notwithstanding
he says in the "Epis. Ded." "I never saw England." Account of him in
Cooper : Athen. Catab. II, 496, where is noted "It is remarkable that
the translator speaks of himself as never having visited England."
Vide also: Die. Nat. Biog. ad loco.
dedicated to Francis Hastings and Edward Bacon : the first
edition appeared in 1602; the second in 1608. Both are
exactly alike ; containing all of Gentillet, except the dedi-
cation to AlenQon and the verses following. It is best to
let the translator himself explain his object in presenting
Gentillet to English readers.
"For then" [before the Queen-Mother brought Machia-
velli into France] ,,Satan being a disguised person
amongst the French, in the likenesse of a merrie
jester, [Kabelais] acted a comoedie, but shortly
ensued a wofull Tragoedie. When our countrymen's
minds were sick, and corrupted with these pestilent
diseases, and that discipline waxed stale; then came
forth the books of Machiavel, a most pernitious
writer, which beganne not in secret and stealing
manner (as did those former vices) but by open
meanes, and as it were a continual assault, utterly
destroyed not this or that vertue, but even all
vertues at once: Insomuch as it took faith from
Princes; authoritie and majesty from laws: libertie
from the people; and peace and concord from all
persons, which are the only remedies for present
malladies. For what shall I speake of Religion
whereof the Machiavellians had none, as alreadie
plainly appeareth, yet they greatly laboured also to
deprive us of the same.
.... Moreover Sathan useth strangers of France,
as his fittest instruments, to infect us still with
this deadly poison sent out of Italy, who have so
highly promoted their Machiavellian bookes, that he
is of no reputation in the court of France, which hath not
Machiavel's writings at his finger's ends, and that
both in the Italian and French tongues, and can
apply his precepts to all purposes, as the Oracles of
Apollo. Truly, it is a wonderful thing to consider
how faste that evill weede hath growne within these
fewe yeares, seeing there is almost none that striveth
to excell in vertue or knowledge: as though the
only way to obtain honour and riches were by this
deceiver's direction She, the most renowned
Queen [Elizabeth] hath hitherto preserved the state
of her realme, not only safe but flourishing, not by
Machiavellian artes, as Guile, Perfidie and other
Villainies practising, but by true vertues, as Cle-
men cie, Justice, Faith .... But how happy are
yee, both because you have so gratious a Queene,
and also for that the infectious Machiavellian doctrine,
hath not breathed nor penetrated the intrailes of
most happy England. But that it jnight not so do,
I have done my endeavor, to provide an antidote
and present remedie, to expell the force of so deadly
poyson, if at any time it chance to infect you
Kalends Augusti Anno 1577. l )
Thus we see, Patericke believed Machiavelli (whom }
lie evidently knew only from Gentillet), sent from Sathan
to France, had made a hell of ij^where his doctrines were!
in everyone's mouth. But of paramount importance is]
that he expressly states , Machiavelli was not known in I
England up to 1577, and that he speaks of "ricnes >tamed
T3y*Tte* deceiver's direction".
Thesejfierce denunciations of Gentillet and Patericke
Jiad an immediate effect upjon Jgnglish readers^
In 1578 appeared a work *) by(jlarvej^one poem of
which, supported by several others, may be viewed as the
direct outgrowth of the Gentillet-Patericke diatribes.
The part in question runs as follows:
') "The Epistle Dedicatorie."
2 ) -'XAI'PE: Gabrielis Harveij Gratulationum Valdinensium Libri
quattnor. London 1578." Lib. I to Elizabeth; II to Leicester; III to
Burleigh ; IV to Hatton. A propos of Burleigh, readers of Disraeli will
remember he nick-named the great minister "Machiavel" in his "Ame-
nities of Literature".
Epigramma in effigiem Machiavelli.
Mcichiavellus ipse loquitur.
Quaeris, ego qui sim? Rex Regum: totius orbis 
Imperium digito nititur omne meo.
Nemo regat, qui non Machavellica dogmata callet:
Nee sapuisse putes qui minus ista sapit.
Caetera sunt umbrae, fumi, ludibria, risus, 
Regna ego sola loquor. sceptra ego sola loquor,
Pacem optent pueri, vetulaeque, senesque, miselli,
Castra ego sola loquor, bella ego sola loquor.
Plebis amor nihil est; nihilo minus, Indiga Virtus:
Verba ego linquo alijs; facta ego mira patro. 
Ecce oculos: Furor ijs habitat: manus altera saxum;
Altra ensem torquet; toxica in ore latent.
V\A^O^ |J -* Spiritus hinc, atque hinc perfusus mille venenis:
Ferrea frons, Orel pertora digjia Deo.
Emblema est, semperque fuit : luuat ire per alhon : 
Aut nihil, aut Caesar; noster Alumnus erat.
Nil mediocre placet: subliinia sola.volu.tp: .
^ ..Lac pucris cibus est: sanguine vescor ego. * t
Mille nefces obeat vulgus, inodo sceptra capekam ;
Non flocci cruor est, non laniena mihi. 
Dispereant abiectae animae: trudautur ad Orcum:
Solus ego sapio, vivo, triumpho mihi.
Caetera quis nescit? Fraus est niea maxima Virtus:
Proxima, Vis : alios non ego nosco Deos.
Ingenij monumenta a mei Regalia volue: 
Nee post hac quaeres: Quis Machavellus erat! 1 )
This is simply Gentillet epitomised: here we have the
four principal crimes, ascribed to Machiavelli later on in
wfWU the drama: poison, murder, fraud and violence. Especially
is poison (line 13) to be noted; for the Florentine himself
nowhere expressly recommends its use. It became, how-
ever, the prime factor in Elizabethan Machiavellianism.
Lines 18 and 20 read us if they had been written after
the appearance of Barabas, Aaron, Eleazar, and Lorenzo,
instead of many years before them. But of tantamount
importance is the heading:
" M achiavellus ipse loquitur."
*) Lib. II. p. 8.
Marlowe certainly had this before him, when he first
brought Machiavelli in person upon the stage to speak the
prologue to the ^Jew of Malta" The line:
"Aut nihil, aut Caesar: uoster Alumnus erat."
no doubt suggested: -
"What right had Caesar to the einpery?" 1 )
In another epigram, -) Mercury complains of Machia-
velli; and Jupiter proclaims him a god co-potent, and the
son of Maia. a ) Mercury incidentally remarks, that Machia- /
velli's teachings are not new: -- "prisca novata iuuant"; 4 )
Gentillet had already asserted this. 5 ) In another place,
the Florentine is called: "Deus rigidi Tyranni": 6 ) Gen-
tillet laid especial stress upon this point. 5 )
Again in "Medicaeorum Hymnus", after the gods are
called upon to worship Machiavelli: -
"Juppiter annuerat: plausumque dedere rninores
Dijque, Deaeque: novo sacrificantque Deo.
Sacrificaturos Deus ipse affatur amicos:
Dij. quanta Dea est Fraus comitata Dolis?
Non miranda Dea est, cui coeli Essentia quinta,
Quattuor atque parent terrae elementa Deae?
Hinc ego divinis cumulatus honoribus, inter
Reges, atque Deos, Rex color, atque Deus.
Hinc manibus supera, ima fero ; septemque Planaetas,
Bis septem Reges, Pontificesque meis.
l ] "Jew of Malta" Marlowe ed. Dyce 145.
2 ) Gr. Harveij Mercurius Florentinus, vel Machiavelli a
3 ) " Hie, ait [Mercurius] alter ego est.
Juppiter arrisit; Maia iudiguata parumper
Mox ait: ergo etiam films iste meus.
Assensere Dei, atque Deae: Machavellus atque uno
Cunctorum assensu; Mercurius Deus est."
Lib. II p. 10.
4 ) Lib. II p. 9.
5 ) Vide ante p. 7.
) Lib. II p. 10. (
Mortales, reliquorum homiimm coraburite scripta ;
Solus ego Reges, Regnaque vestra rego.
Dixit : at excepit Pallas Britannica regna :
Contiquitque Deus, contiquitque Dea."
The next to the last line is exactly what Patericke
said in his translation of Gentillet ; *) Harvey has the
thought again in an epigram to Hartwell. 2 ) Other in-
stances of contiguity might be given; but surely, those
cited are enough to show, Harvey must have had Gentillet
before him, and that probably in the MS. translation of
One line of the last passage is worthy of note:
"Vulpe, Leone, Apro, trux Machavelle, tuo."
Here is the Fox and Lion theory so often used in the
drama; and linked to it is "Apro", typical to Elizabethans
of concupiscence, 3 ) which Machiavelli nowhere advocates,
but especially warns against. 4 ) As will be seen, Lodge
accepted Harvey's idea, though he must have known
The rapidity, with which Machiavelli come into favor
J ) Vide ante p. 16.
2 ) "Perplacuit paucis tecum, Machavelle, iocari:
Florentinus floreat ore lepos.
Rideo ego; plorare tibi licet, atque licebit,
Quod procul est Princeps, 6 Machavelle, tuus.
Nostra aliam ad formara Princeps fabricata, sereno,
Non Tragico populos aspicit ore, suos.
Haud ita gestirent cives, veniente Tyranno,
Vulpe, Leone, Apro, trux Machavelle, tuo.
Terribilis tua pompa nimis, non Barbara nobis,
Turcica non rabies, non laniena placet."
lib. I p. 7.
3 ) Post.) Perchance he spoke not; but,
Like a full-acorn'd boar, a German one,
Cry'd, oli! and mounted: Cymbeline II, 5.
4 ) Vide "Principe" XVII and XIX.
at Cambridge, and the extent to which lie was read, is
remarkable: in 1579, Harvey claimed his works had sup-
planted all others, spoke of "an odd crewe or tooe as
cuninge" in the same, and made the first hint at the harm
private persons were acquiring from them.
"And I warrant you sum good fellowes amongst us
begin nowe to be prettely well acquayntid with a
certayne parlous booke callid, as I remember me,
II Principe di Niccolo Machiavelli, and I can perad-
venture name you an odd crewe or tooe that ar as
cuninge in his Discorsi sopra la prima Deca di Livio,
in his Historia Fiorentina, and in his Dialogues della
Arte della Guerra tooe, and in certayne gallant Tur-
kishe Discourses tooe, as University men w r ere wont
to be in their parva Logicolia and Magna Moralia
and Physicalia of both sortes: v&rbum intelligenti sat:"
Letter-book ed. Scott p. 79.
Now Greene was a student at Cambridge in this year,
and Marlowe in the next: although the words quoted are,
no doubt, exaggerated, and cannot be positively proved to
apply to Greene and his associates, yet later testimony
points clearly that way; for Harvey accuses both the dra-
matists of having used Machiavellian principles in their
profligate lives, and Greene confesses it true.
In the same year Harvey informed Spencer: "Machia-
el a great man" J ) at Cambridge, and Italian studies
In 1580, he mentioned Machiavelli as a writer of co-
*) ,,I beseech you all this while, what news at Cambridge. Tully
and Demosthenes nothing- so much studied as they were wont: . . . .
Machiavel a great man: Castilio, of no small repute: Petrarch and
Boccaccio in every man's mouth: Galateo and Guazzo never so happy:
overmany acquainted with Unico Aretino." Harvey to Spencer 1579.
Church: "Spencer" 25.
medies, ] ) praised him highly, but spoiled it all by ranking
Bibiena alongside. In this year, also, Thomas Lodge intro-
duced Machiavelli into the popular controversial literature
of the day, with his immediately suppressed pamphlet: "A
Reply to Stephen Gosson's Schoole of Abuse"
" latet anguis in herba , under your fare show of
conscience take heede you cloake not your abuse,
it were pittie the learned should be overseene in
your simplenesse, I feare me you will be politick
wyth Machavel not zealous as a prophet." Lodge
ed. Gosse III, 22.
To argue on the orthography of a word in Elizabethan
literature is very fallible, especially in this case; for Machia-
velli's name was spelt in over an hundred different ways:
but it is worthy of note that Lodge here, and here alone,
adopts Harvey's spelling in the epigrams. He was then a
student at Oxford: his work shows no acquaintance at all
with Machiavelli's writings : he probably knew of him from
Harvey or Gentillet, assumed the same knowledge in his
public, cited him, and thus started a "craze", which really
became one in the fullest sense of the word, viz. to make
a scare-crow scape-grace of the Florentine's name on every
conceivable occasion. Lodge referred to Machiavelli as an
advocate of dissembling: this is simply Maxim IS.-)
In the next year, Barnaby Eiche adapted Machiavelli's
novelette "Belphegor" in his "Farewell to the Militarie Pro-
*) "I am void of all judgement, if your Nine Comedies .... come
not nearer Ariosto's comedies .... than that Elvish Queen doth to
his Orlondo Furioso .... Besides that you know, it hath heen the
usual practice of the most exquisite and odd wits .... rather to show,
and advance themselves that way than any other: as, namely those
three notorious discoursing heads, Bihiena, Machiavel, and Aretiuo
did .... heing indeed reputed in all points matchable .... either with
Aristophanes and Menander in Greek, or with Plautus and Terence in
Latin." Harvey to Spencer.
-) Cf. Gentillet ante 9.
fession" ; >) and Thomas Howell reiterated the citation of
"Provyde in youth, thy aged yeares to keepe,
And let fayre speeche go lulle the fonde a sleepe,
Sir Machiavell such cunning uowe hath tought.
That wordes seeme sweete when bitter is the thought.
Take heede therefore, retyre in time from those,
To serve their turiies, that teach their tongues to glose,
Whose golden shews, although do promise much,
In proofe fall out but copper in the touch."
Ed. Grosart. "Delightful Disc." 221.
Hitherto, Machiavelli has been cited only as an author :
in 1583 Robert Greene was the first to make in popular
literature an abstract noun of the Florentine's name. Green
had been long in Italy, and was well read in the Italian
poets, in Guicciardini and Machiavelli, but in his use
of the latter he seems to have sacrificed his own know-
ledge to that panderism to public taste and feeling, which
was so characteristic of the gifted writer. On the very
first page of "Mamillia", praising the superior sturdiness of
Padua in not yielding to her enemies as Venice, Florence,
Sienna and other cities had done, Greene cited Machiavelli
as his authority: "as Machiavell in his Florentine
history maketh report" (ed. Grosart II, 13). Further along
in the second part occurs this sentence: -
"So Pharicles although he was whollie wedded unto
vanitie, and had professed himselfe a mortall foe to
x ) As Warton said, "Even Machiavelli, who united the liveliest
wit with the profoundest reflection .... condescended to adorn this
fashionable species of writing with his "Novella di Belfegor"."
Hist. Eng. Poet. IV. 339.
Riehe's tale of Mildred and the devil Balthazar is an ingenious
adaptation of "Belphegor" in a satire on the craze for new fashions.
As Collier says: "it may be considered the most original part of the
volume." Riche ed. Collier Shak. Soc. 33. XVI.
vertue, being in the state of his life such a mutable
Machiavilian, as he neither regarded friend nor faith
oath nor promise, if his wavering wit perswaded him
to the contrary." *) ibid. 205.
It is perfectly plain, Greene had forgotten his own
study of Machiavelli, and was catering to popular senti-
ment, The thought is simply Maxim 18, introduced by
Lodge and Howell , coupled with Maxim 25 : 2 ) for Greene
lays stress upon the fact that his dissembler was very
mutable. 3 )
In the next year (1584), came out anonymously 4 )
"Leycester's Commonwealth" ; Sidney, who immediately wrote
a refutation of it, said the author u plays the statist, wringing
very unluckily some of Machiavel's axioms to serve his
purpose". 5 ) But these axioms were not unluckily wrung :
Parsons cited Machiavelli thrice, and went each time to
the "Principe", of which he gave almost the very words.
The first reference is as follows:
"I doubt not, but my Lord of Leycester will take
good heed, in joyning by reconciliation with Huntington,
after so long a breach: and will not be so improvi-
dent, as to make him his soveraigne, who now is
but his dependent. Hee remembreth too well the
J ) On which Grosart remarks: "Machavilian = after Machiavelli,
who for long was (preposterously) held to be the incarnation of all
deceitfulness. Professor Villari's recent erudite and judicious Life has
lifted off the centuries-old obloquy." It escaped Grosart that Greene
here puns on the name ; it was pronounced. Match a villain, as will be
shown later on.
2 ) Gentillet ante 9.
3 ) Cf. Crowne: "Juliana" III (Dram, of Rest/ I, 57).
Cassonofsky (when Lubomirsky shifts his policy)
"So, there's Machiavel policy in the abstract; the wind of to'ther
party blows a little dust in's teeth, and he wheels about,"
4 ) In 1641 attributed to Father Parsons.
5 ) Misc. Works ed. Gray 311.
successe of the lord Stanley who helped King Henry
the seventh to the Crowne; of the Duke of Bucking-
ham, who did the same for Richard the third; . . . .
All which Noble men upon occasions that after fell
out; were rewarded with death, by the selfe same
Princes, whom they had preferred. And that not
without reason as Siegnior Machavel my Lords Coun-
cellour affirmeth. For that such Princes, after ward
can never give sufficient satisfaction to such friends,
for so great a benefit received. And consequently
least upon discontentment, they may chance doe as
much for others against them, as they have done for
them against others : the surest way is, to recom pence
them with such reward, as they shall never after
bee able to complain of." ')
In the second notice, he said, Leicester was able,
"to plunge his friend [Norfolk] over the eares in
suspition and disgrace, in such sort, as he should
never be able to draw himselfe out of the ditch
againe, as indeed he was not, but died in the same.
And herein you see also the same subtle and
Machiavilian sleight, which I mentioned before, of
driving men to attempt somewhat, whereby they
may incure danger, or remaine in perpetuall suspition
or disgrace. And this practice hee hath long used:
and doth daily, against such as he hath will to
destroy." 2 )
The last citation was even more direct:
"For it is a setled rule of Machivel, which the
Dudlies doe observe: That, where you have once done
a great injury, there you must never forgive" 3 )
') Leys. Com. (1641) 92. Of. Prin. Ill: Disc. II, 33 (265): 1st.
Fior. IV (253).
2 ) Ibid. 149. Cf. Prin. VII. Gent. Ill, 11.
3 ) Ibid. 177. Cf. Priii. VII; Disc. Ill, 4 (312): 1st. Fior. IV (217).
Gent. Ill, 6.
Leicester was also accused of having poisoned many
people, as well as of all villainy. This book 1 ) of Parsons
was wide read: we shall find these three maxims, and the
poison principle (already in Gentillet), cropping out in the
drama. 2 )
II. Machiavelli in the Drama.
The next author to mention Machiavelli, and the first
to introduce him onto the stage, was JMarlowe in 1588 in
his "Jew of Malta". But now that the drama has been
J ) No better example could be given of the difference between this
legitimate use of Machiavelli and the vicious popular mis-use than,
anticipating about 40 years, by quoting the following stanza from a
poem, "Leicesters Ghost", appended to an edition of "Leycester's Common-
wealth" in 1641, but written about the end of the reign of James I,
who is mentioned as alive: -
1) "Are there not some among you Parasites,
2) Time-servers and observers of no measure,
3) Prince-pleasers, people-pleasers, hypochrites.
4) Damn'd Machevillians given to lust and pleasure,
5) Church robbers, beggars of the Princes treasure,
6) Truce breakers, Pirats, Atheists, Sychophants,
7) Can equity dwell here, where conscience wants."
[In one of the two Brit. Mus. copies line 3 is made 5 and gar-
bled thus: -
"Prince smothers, people pleasure, Hippochrites."]
It is almost needless to say, that in all Machiavelli's writings
there are no directions for "parasites, time-servers, those given to lust
and pleasure, church-robbers etc. etc."
2 ) Another episode, which Scott immortalised, also got onto the stage.
In "The Yorkshire Tragedy" V (Anc. Brit. Dram. 433) the Husband
exclaims when throwing the maid down stairs, -
"The surest way to charm a woman's tongue,
Is break her neck: a politician did it"
Here "politician" is used in the same sense as Machiavilian.
reached the question naturally arises, was there any
Machiavellianism in English dramatic literature before this
introduction of the Florentine himself by Marlowe. Simpson,
in his excellent essay on "The Political Use of the Stage
in Shakspere's Time", makes the following remark: -
"Tancred and Gismunda", partly by Hatton, afterwards
Lord Chancellor, was acted before Queen Elizabeth
in 1568. It is remarkable for its protests against
tyranny, and for the hateful display of a tyrant in
Tancred, with his simple maxims, such as
"This is the soundest safet}^ for a king,
To cut off all that vex or hinder him"
Tancred introduces us to what was the great poli-
tical bugbear of the 16 th century The Machia-
vellian. Marlowe confesses in his prologue that he
means his Jew of Malta to exhibit that ideal : and
from this we may see that Selimus in the Tragical
reign of Selimus sometime emperor of the Turks. Aaron
in Titus Andronwus, and the other characters in other
plays, including perhaps jago in Othello are intended
for exhibitions of the hated and dreaded ideal. Mo^t
of them have this in common, that they confide
their atrocious intentions and principles to the.. au-
dience with the flattest simplicity and most elaborate
self-analysis. Middleton's play The Old Law belongs
to this type of political dramas."
New Sh. Soc. II, 371.
To see in Tancred a Machiavellian is anticipating:
between him and the true Machiavellians (Barabas, Aaron
Eleazar, Richard III, Alphonsus etc.) there is a vast
difference. The former is a firmly established tyrant, the
latter are unscrupulous villains, seeking to establish
themselves as tyrants, but invariably failing.
The character of a tyrant is one of the oldest in all I
dramatic literature, ancient and modern. Sidney speaks of '
how the classical drama ,,maket.h kings fear to be tyrants,
and tyrants to manifest their tyrannical humours". 1 ) "Tailored
and Gismunda" is an out and out imitation of Seneca; the
maxim quoted is the only one in the play which sounds
Machiavellian, and may be found in JMntarcli. Tacitus,
Seneca, 2 ) and Aristotle : the principle is time-honored,
forming the very Leitmotiv of "Cambyses".
The nearest approach to a Machiavellian before Barabas,
was Lorenzo in the "Spanish Tragedy"; an arch- villain, 3 )
who uses Serberine in the murder of Horatio, bribes
Pedringano to shoot Serberine, and has the assassin hung
before he can expose all.
Lorenzo) "Thus must we work, that will avoid distrust,
Thus must we practice to prevent mishap :
And thus one ill another must expulse.
And better 'tis that base companions die,
Than by their life to hazard our good haps;
Nor shall they live, for me to fear their faith;
I'll trust myself, myself shall be my friend;
For die they shall, slaves are ordain'd to no other end." 4 )
Lorenzo is certainly the fore-runner, though at a great
distance, of Barabas and Eichard III. His lines: -
"Where words prevail not, violence prevails;
But gold doth more than either of them both." ibid. II.
*) E. Fischer: "Zur Kunstentwickelung cler Eng. Trag." p. 50.
p) Cf. Duch&gfc-fiL Newcastle : "The Presence" I, 1 (2).
\Yli\. SvHt'ca doth express .Moral Virtues, and Machiavellian
l^ Policy, better and more properly then Drainatick Poetry."
3 ) "Von Charakterentwickelimg- ist wenig zu inerken ; nieist treten
uns die Charaktere gleich fertig entgegen, und werden nur immer von
einer Seite gezeigt. Lorenzo z. B. giebt sich von seinem ersten Auf-
treten an als Schurke aus Princip; stets erscheint er als Todfeind der
Liebhaber seiner Schwester, und warum er Bellimperias Liebesgliick
zerstort, fragt sich der Zuschauer vergebens."
Markscheffel. T. Kyd. 13.
4 ) Span. Trag. Ill (Dods. 74). A method, advocated in Prin. VII,
employed by all Elizabethan Machiavellians.
are the very key-note of the Jew of Malta's character;
and the line just quoted: -
"I'll trust myself, myself shall be my friend."
is identical in thought with Richard's III famous: -
"I am myself alone."
and Barabas phrase corrupted from Terence: -
"Ego tuihimet sum semper proximus"
which is the very pith and gist of all Machiavelli's teachings. 1 )
And again; Lorenzo knows: -
"Our greatest ills we least mistrust, my lord,
And inexpected harms do hurt us most." 2 )
upon which Machiavelli lays especial stress.
Thus, the safe conclusion is that Kyd used the "Principe"
in portraying Lorenzo, but did not brand him a "Machiavel"
since, as we have seen, the mere name had as yet (1587?)
no terror for a popular audience.
The most colossal figures to be met with in the
Elizabethan drama, are Marlowe's Tamburlaine, Faustus,
and Barabas: into these Titans he breathed the very soul
of his existence, --a wild craving for infinite power. He
was the "notable exception" among the Elizabethan
dramatists; for he had studied Machiavelli with a
vengeance : 3 ) and it may be stated as an absolute certainty,
*) Of. Lee: "Caesar Borgia" III (ed. 1734 II, 50).
Machiavel) "I love myself: and for myself, I love
Borgia my Prince: Who does not love himself?
Self-Love's the universal Beam of Nature,
The Axle-tree that darts thro' all its Frame."
Cf. also Steele in ,,Tatler" 186.
2 ) III 83. Cf. Prin. Ill: Disc. I, 2 (101); 1st. Fior. VII (151).
3 ) Goethe and Marlowe had much of "those brave translunary
things" in common; besides their marvellously sympathetic attraction
Meyer, Machiavelli. 3
that had the "Principe" never been written, his three great
heroes would not have been drawn with such gigantic
strokes. Brandl has so consummately stated the general
influence of Machiavelli upon Marlowe, that, to add one
word, would be impudence.
,,Ueber aufstrebende Herrschernaturen hatte niemand
so fein und eingehend gehandelt wie Macchiavelli , der
politische Klassiker des Cinquecento, dessen Lehren an den
Hofen fleifsig ins Praktische iibersetzt wurden. Marlow
kannte ihn und liefs ihn im "Jew of Malta" als prolocutor
auftreten. Audi die Warnung des sterbenden Greene an
Marlow setzt ihn als bekannt voraus: "Is it pestilent
Machivilian policy that thou hast studied?" (Marlow ed.
Dyce XXVII) Doppelt beachtenswert sind daher die
mannigfachen Ubereinstimmungen zunachst zwischen Mac-
chiavellis "Principe" und Mario ws "Tamerlan".
Um rait Tamerlans Gegnern zu beginnen : Mycetes,
der schwache Perserkonig, nimmt sich w r ie eine Illustration
des angestammten Fiirsten aus, der nach Macchiavelli
(Principe, Kap. 2) die Krone nur verlieren kann, wenn un-
gewohnliche aufsere Gewalt herantritt und er selbst durch
aufserordentliche Lasten sich verhafst macht. Von aufsen
to the Faust legend, each was powerfully drawn to Machiavelli in his
youth. In 1774 the young Goethe writes to Lavater: -
"So ist das Wort der Menschen mir Wort Gottes .... und mit
inniger Seele falle ich dem Bruder um den Hals, Moses,
Prophet, Evangelist, Apostel, Spinoza oder Machiavell." Vide
J. Schmidt : "Goethe's Stellung zum Christenthum" Jahrb. II, 57.
In his "Tagebuch" for 30 July 1807 occurs this: -
"Alles Spinozistische in der poetischen Production wird in der
kritischen Reflexion Macchiavellismus" Weim. Ausg. Ill, 250.
And in Egmont the secretary to the "Regentin Margarete" is
called Machiavel; although this was an historical personage, (which
Ward I, 186 did not know), Goethe certainly chose this one among the
insignificant characters for the significance of the name.
bedrangen ihn die Tiirken und Tartaren, im Innern weckt
ihm sein tyrannisches Verfiigen iiber das Leben eines
Yasallen Mifstrauen (A. I Sc. 1).
Thronraub, soviel Greuel damit auch verbunden sein
mogen, ist nach Macchiavelli nichts unnatiirliehes und pflegt
sogar Bewnnderung zu ernten, wenn der Mann sich nur zu
lialten vermag. Tadelnswert aber ist, wer darnach gestiirzt
wird, und das wird dem passieren, der nicht mit eigener
Kraft ausreicht oder gar einen sehr machtigen Fremden
hereinruft. Er mufs schone Worte machen, hat im Notfall
niclit die rechte Gewalt iiber seine Anhanger und hangt
vom Gliicke ab. (Principe Cap. 3. 6.) Dieser Klasse gehort
Cosroe an. Am Hofe des Mycetes ist er als Eedner be-
kannt; durch schone Versprechungen erreicht er auch, dafs
ihm seine Mitvasallen die Krone des Mycetes iibertragen:
"my lord" sagt er zu einem derselben. Ohne ausreichende
Stlitze in sich selbst vertraut er sich den "approved For-
tunes" Tamerlans an (A. II Sc. 3) und wahnt ihn zu seinem
bescheidenen Bundesgenossen machen zu konnen, worauf
ihn dieser Gigant natiirlich abschiittelt, besiegt und sterben
lafst (A. II Sc. 6).
Erfolg hat nach Macchiavelli nur, wer die Eigenschaft
und Geistesgrofse besitzt, seine Anhanger dauernd zu be-
herrschen; der empfangt vom Gliicke blofs die Gelegenheit.
Diesem Ideal eines zur hochsten Macht emporstrebenden
Mannes entspricht Tamerlan Zug fur Zug. "I am a lord",
erklart er, der geborene Schafer, in richtiger Selbsterkennt-
nis, "for so my deeds shall prove." Er verschmaht es, "to
play the orator". Seine Anhanger sind ihm friends and
followers". "His fortunes maister" nennt ihn sogar der
Gegner (A. II Sc. 1). Dafs er grofs, wenn auch barbarisch
denkt, zeigt er in der Liebeswerbung urn die gefangene
Zenocrate, welche nur in der AVerbung Richards III. um die
des Gatten beraubte Anna ihres Gleichen hat (A. I Sc. 2).
Was nur Macchiavelli einem Tyrannen zur Befestigung seiner
Macht empfiehlt, also: Beseitigung der Neider, Strenge ge-
mischt mit Grofsmut und Klugheit, stete Schlagfertigkeit
und fortgesetzte Feldziige, besonders auch Abhartung der
Sohne (Prin. Cap. 40), l ) wird von Tamerlan in den iibrigen
Akten ausgefiihrt, so dais er im Bette stirbt und semen
Sohnen ein gesichertes Reich hinterlafst ; hochster Triumph
eines Macchiavellischen Emporkb'mmlings! Lerne, ruft
Tamerlan, am Schlusse seinem Altesten zu. einen so ge-
fahrlichen Thron bewahren ; bist du nicht nicht voll Feuer-
gedanken, werden dich diese rebellischen Gaule bei der
nachsten Gelegenheit abwerfen; "the nature of thy chariot
will not bear a guide of baser temper than myself". Ein
innerer Konflikt ist nicht versucht; aber man sieht, wie
Macchiavelli in der Zeichnung des bisher hohlen und starren
Tyrannentypus einen psychologischen Fortschritt anregt,
stufenweise Entwickelung anbahnt und allgemeine Rhetorik
a la Seneca durch reale Ziige und Gegensatzfiguren durch-
Barabas gehort einer Klasse von Emporkommlingen
an, welche Macchiavelli minder ausmhrlich beschrieben hat,
und doch lafst ihn Macchiavelli auf die Buhne geleiten, als
einen Trager des gleichen Geistes, desselben gewissenlosen
Strebens nach Macht. Der Jude gehort zu der Gattung
der Bestechungstyrannen : sein Konnen liegt im Golde. Zu
e!her eigentlichen Krone gelangen zu wollen, hat Macchia-
velli solchen Leuten misraten, weil gekaufte Anhanger
wandelbar und unzuverlassig sind (Prin. Cap. 7). Das Aveifs
Barabas: "nothing violent, oft have I heard tell, can be
permanent". Er hat nicht die von Macchiavelli geforderte
Eigenkraft, verzichtet daher auf ein Gewaltunternehmen.
Wenn ihn die Natur schliefslich doch dazu treibt, mit ver-
zweifelter Schlauheit und Energie die Herrschaft iiber
Malta an sich zu reifsen, stiirzt ihn gerade der Verrat eines
gekauften Heifers, so wie es Macchiavelli geweissagt hatte.
') There is some discrepancy here; the "Principe" contains but
26 chapters, and nowhere in it is "AbhSrtimg der Sohne" advocated !
Noch vager wird die Nachwirknng des Macchiavelli im
Faust" : Auch Faust kauft die hochste Macht, urn schliefs-
lich durch die natiirliche Unzuverlassigkeit solcher Macht-
stiitzen alles zu verlieren. - Fiir die Figur des Guise in
der ,,Bluthochzeit" ist hier wenigstens anzufuhren, dafs
Macchiavelli in seiner Vorrede zum "Jew of Malta" sagt,
er fiihle sich in ilim fortleben. Audi bot fiir die Umgestal-
tung des Guise mid Mortimer die englische und schottische
Geschichte der letzten Jahrzehnte nicht zu unterschatzende
Modelle in Both well und Leicester." )
TJbjis, then, was the general influence upon Marlowe
himself: 2 ) of jvast_jmportance for his immediate successors
^reene^jhakspere^ Jon son T Ma.rst.nn, and Webster. -Bjrtjrf
tantamount significance for the drama was the fact^ that
Machiavelli had been brought on the stage as the mcariia-
Ward says: "The interest taken in Macchiavelli by
*) This last remark should be carefully noted. The English drama-
tists had the whole of so-called Machiavellism before them in the
historical figures of King- John, Henrj JV^jmd Richard III. Shakspere
meant exactly what he said when he made his Richard not the pupil
but the school - master of Machiavelli, ("I'll .... set the murderous
Machiavel to school"). Ir was I'roni just such rulers that the Florentjggr
drew his doctrines.
2 ) Cf. Ulrici. ,,Sein Tamburlaine z. B. athmet in alien Ziigen jene
Machiavellistische Welt- und Lebensansicht, welche nach Greene's An-
deutungen Marlowe getheilt zu haben scheint: ein vollig maassloses
Ringen unbeschrankter, despotischer Macht und Herrschaft, dem jedes
Mittel zum Zweck gerecht ist, bildet die Basis der Action, wird als das
des Mannes allein wiirdige Streben immer wieder gepriesen, beseelt nicht
nur den Helden des Stiicks, sondern auch alle seine Gegner und Ge-
nossen, und fiihrt daher nur zu einem wiisten Kampfe, der bestandig
sich erneuert, bis die grossere Macht Tamburlaines alle seine Feinde zu
Boden geschlagen hat. Und noch entschiedener, wenn auch nach einer
anderen Richtung hin, tritt dieser Machiavellismus in seinem ,,Juden
von Malta" hervor; hier spricht es Marlowe im Prolog (den er Machia-
velli in den Mund legt) selber aus, dass diese Lebensansicht die Basis
sei, auf welcher das Stuck stehe." Sh. Jahrb. I, 62.
English writers was curiously great, if we may judge from
the numerous references made to him and his writings, in
and out of season. Doubtless it had been fed by the publi-
cation in English (in 1537) of the Vindication (see Harleian
Miscellany, Vol. I)." ') Any one, even slightly acquainted with
English philology , must see that the language of this
vindication points to a date of composition at least one
hundred years later than Ward accepts. To be sure, the
letter purports to be a translation of an epistle written by
Machiavelli April 1 st 1537 (sic! ten years after his death).
In short, it was a notable forgery of the year 1675
appearing at the end of Nevile's translation 2 ) of Machia-
velli's works, and separately in 1688. *) Nevile says, the
letter came into England through u a certain Gentleman",
and speaks of Machiavelli as still living in 1537. 4 ) Fame-
worth 5 ) in 1762 declared this letter a forgery ; Warburton (i )
did the same and all critics since. In fact, it has never
been accepted by any authority, nor is it to be found in
any Italian edition of Machiavelli's works. As has been
seen, Machiavelli was utterly unknown in England up to
about 1560; but the historian of "English Dramatic Lite-
ture" had not observed this fact!
') Ward I, 185.
2 ) "The Works of the Famous Nicholas Machiavel . . . Translated
into English [by Henry Nevile] London 1675" [again 1680, 1694, 1720].
*) "The Publisher or Translator (i. e. Henry Nevile) of Nicholas
Machiavel's whole works .... into English concerning the following
Letter of Nicholas Machiavel's wherein he clears himself of the asper-
sions alledg'd by some on his writings .... Written by the author
April 1st 1537. 1688" [again 1691, 1744]. Brit. Mus. Cat. under
Machiavelli 8009. a. 19. remarks: "The letter is supposititious; it was
written by Henry Nevile."
*) "We find in the Story of those times that in the month of
August following, in the same year 1537, this Nicolo Machiavelli did"
- op. cit. Pref. to Reader.
G ) Works of N. M. I, 3.
6 ) Cf. Wilson's Works (Dram, of Rest.) 283.
Of Machiavelianism , in the Elizabethan sense of the
word, there is not a trace in Tamburlaine: he is all lion,
as Techelles says: -
"As princely lions, when they rouse themselves,
Stretching their paws, and threatening herds of beasts,
So in his armour looketh Tamburlaine."
But the "Jew of Malta" is just the opposite : he is all
fox. The latter play was the most popular J ) of all of Mar-
lowe, and constructed for popular sympathy: Barabas,
"a true Machiavel" , was drawn from popular prejudice
frased upon Gentillet and not from Marlowe's own study. 2 )
The idea of the prologue, as has "been said, was a reMj-
niscence of Harvey's epigram; but no happier idea was
ever thought of than this for the opening of a tragedy. ')
"Albeit the world think Machiavel is dead,
Yet was his soul but flown beyond the Alps ;
And, now the Guise is dead, is come from France,
To view this land, and frolic with his friends.
To some perhaps my name is odious; [5
But such as love me, guard me from their tongues,
And let them know that I am Machiavel,
And weigh not men, and therefore not men's words.
Admir'd I am of those that hate me most:
Though some speak openly against my books,
T \ I
^ ^ e
*) As Wagner points out, it was played according to Henslowe's
diary (ed. Collier) 36 times while Tamb. I, Tamb. II, Massacre, and
Faustus were performed in the same time but 15, 7, 9 and 25 times
respectively. Cf. "Jew of Malta", ed. Wagner VII.
2 ) In 1810 appeared a characteristic edition. "The Famous Histo-
rical Tragedy of the Eich Jew of Malta .... Imitated from the Works
of Machiavelli by Christopher Mario .... London etc." As Wagner
remarks "Imitated from the Works of Mach." are original to this
edition. Wagner op. cit. X.
3 ) "Macchiavell's Eingangsprolog wird vorneweg, wie ein Ver-
grosserungs-Hohlspiegel , aufgestellt, worin die Figur des Juden in
kolossalen, aber ebendeswegeu, hinsichtlich des specifisch - nationalen
Judencharakters, in uebelhafteu Urnrissen erscheiut."
Klein, Gesch. d. Dram. XIII, 676.
Yet will they read me. and thereby attain
To Peter's chair; and, when they cast me off,
Are poison'd by my climbing 1 followers.
I count religion but a childish toy,
And hold there is no sin but ignorance. [15
Birds of the air will tell of murders past!
I am asham'd to hear such fooleries.
Many will talk of title to a crown:
What right had Caesar to the empery?
Might first made king's, and laws wjfere then most sure [20 *[
When, like the Draco's they were writ in blood.
Hence comes it that a strong-built citadel
Commands much more than letters can import:
Which maxim had [but] Phalaris observ'd,
H'ad never bellow'd in a brazen bull, [25
Of great ones' envy: o'the poor petty wights
Let me be envied and not pitied.
But whither am I bound? I come not, I,
To read a lecture here in Britain,
But to present the tragedy of a Jew, [30
Who smiles to see how full his bags are cramm'd;
Which money was not got without my means.
I crave but this, grace him as he deserves,
And let him not be entertain'd the worse
Because he favours me." Ed. Dyce 145. [35
The first four lines show Marlowe thought Machiavelli
had come to England from France ; and such was the case,
through Gentillet as Patericke had said. Careful scruti-
nation will find but two thoughts in this whole passage
which come from Machiavelli; and even those at second-
hand. Lines 14 and 15 reflect the general tone of "Prin-
cipe" 18, but savour more of Gentillet II, 1. Machiavel
speaks of citadels in Prin. 20; Gentillet in III, 33: the
passage 22 23 probably came from the latter. In line 13
is the poison idea, fathered upon Machiavelli by Harvey,
of whom line 19 is also a reminiscence. J ) Verses 20 and
21 sound "Machiavellian", J ) but come from Plutarch, whom
the dramatists seem often to have confounded with the
In the play itself there is not a single line taken! r
directly from Machiavelli ; 2 ) and even such passages as \ ^
may, directly or indirectly, have been suggested by him,
are so distorted as to present as great a caricature of the /
Florentine, as Barabas is of a man. 3 j
Since Barabas 4 ) was the first pronounced "Machiavel",
*) I. e. what was and is popularly termed so; they are in reality
diametrically opposed to Machiavelli's teachings. Lee, who studied the
Florentine (cf. Dedication to "Lucius Junius Brutus") carefully for his
"Caesar Borgia" has him thus close the bloody tragedy: -
"No Power is safe, nor no Religion good,
Whose Principles of Growth are laid in Blood." V, 3.
2 ) To he sure, Klein says all is "Yon Eechts- und Staatswegen
laut Vorschrift und Gebot der Fiirsten- und Staatenbibel, des Principe
von Macchiavell" op. cit. 687. But this is one of the many cases where
Klein's imagination got the better of him.
3 ) "Im "Juden von Malta" tritt Machiavelli als Prolog auf, urn
anzukiindigen, dass der Jude ein Vertreter seiner Politik sei, der auch
Herzog Guise im "Massacre von Paris" sich ergeben habe. Aber die
wilden Thaten von Marlowe's Helden dienen nicht wie Machiavelli's
Politik einem edeln idealen Endzwecke. Wie Marlowe selbst im Leben,
lassen seine Helden auch in der Dichtung ihre Titanenkraft austoben;
ihre Bethatigung ist sich selber Zweck. Sie alle kennen nur ein
"Wollen". Es tritt ihnen kein Schicksal entgegen wie in der alten
Tragodie, noch ein ethisches "Sollen" wie in der neueren."
Koch: Shak. 246.
4 ) "Der grossartige Prolog des Machiavels kennzeichnet den
Charakter des Helden."
0. Fischer "Zur Char, der Dram. M's." 4.
Honigmann ("Ueber den Char, des Shylocks" Jahrb. XVII, 211)
calls Barabas "ein Vertreter des g.reulichsten Macchiavellismus"; this is
as absurd as his next remark "Er zeigt an keiner Stelle irgend
einen jiidischen Charakterzug." Cf. Rabbi Philipson: "The few in Eng.
Fiction." p. 26. Elze had already observed that this Machiavellianism
existed only in the poet: "In des Dichters Augen ist diese unerhorte
Verbrecher-Laufbahn nichts als praktischer Macchiavellismus." "Zum
Kaufm. von Ven." Jahrb. VI, 184.
it is necessary to consider his character. To use his own
words is the best method.
"As for myself, I walk abroad o' nights,
And kill sick people groaning- under walls:
Sometimes I go about and poison wells;
And now and then, to cherish Christian thieves,
I am content to lose some of my crowns,
That I may, walking in my gallery,
See 'em go pinion'd along by ray door.
Being young, I studied physic, and began
To practise first upon the Italian;
There I enrich'd the priests with burials,
And always kept the sexton's arms in ure
With digging graves and ringing dead men's knells;
And, after that, was I an engineer,
And in the wars 'twixt France and Germany,
Under pretence of helping Charles the Fifth,
Slew friend and enemy with my stratagems:
Then, after that, I was an usurer,
And with extorting, cozening, forfeiting.
And tricks belonging unto brokery,
I fill'd the gaols with bankrupts in a year,
And with young* orphans planted hospitals;
And every moon made some or other mad,
And now and then one hang himself for grief,
Pinning upon his breast a long great scroll
How I with interest tormented him.
But mark how I am blest for plaguing them; -
I have as much coin as will buy the town." II, 157.
A more incarnate fiend could hardly be imagined. l )
*) "The famous Tragedie of the Rich Jew of Malta" hat zu ihrer
Basis, wie der Dichter im Prolog selbst andeutet, den vollendeten
Macchiavellismus, eine Lebensansicht, welche das menschliche Lasein auf
die ausserste Spitze des Egoismus stellt. Der machtige Trieb nach
Selbsterhaltung , nach Gliickseligkeit , Macht uiid Reich thum, tritt in
Kampf gegen die gauze Welt; die menschliche Natur ist gespalten,
jenes Eine Urelement derselben. ausgeartet in eine rachsuchtige Ver-
nichtungswuth gegen die ganze Menschheit, ist losgerissen von alien
iibrigeu Trieben und Kraften. So steht der Jude da .... von leiden-
schaftlicher Selbstsucht beseelt .... Aber auch der Gouverneur und
e is a murderer: only once openly; since he prefers secret
poisoning 1 . 1 ) When injured he never forgets it:
"I am not of the tribe of Levi, I,
That can so soon forget an injury." II, 155.
but bides his time: -
"No, Abigail; things past recovery
Are hardly cur'd with exclamations:
Be silent daughter; sufferance breeds ease,
And time may yield us an occasion,
Which on the sudden cannot serve the turn." I, 151.
and seeks deadly revenge. 2 ) This idea of an injury never
forgot probably came from Gentillet III, 6. 3 )
He believes all Christians 4 ) deceivers:
,,For I can see no fruits in all their faith,
But malice, falsehood, and excessive pride,
Which methinks fits not their profession." I, 147.
"Ay. policy! that's their profession,
And not simplicity, as they suggest." I, 150.
Selim Calymath, Christen wie Muhamedaner , handeln in gleichem
schonungsloseu Egoismus. Dieser treibt sich im Juden bis zu einer
Hohe, auf der er nothwendig sich selbst vernichtet." Ulrici : Sh. Dram.
Kunst. I, 192.
') He strangles Friar Beruardine, and kills by poison his own
daughter, all the nuns, and later Bellamira, Ithamore, and Pilia Borza.
He leads Lodowick and Mathias to death; also Friar Jacomo etc. etc.
2 ) Wlien Ferneze takes his goods, he immediately decides upon
killing his sou:
"So sure shall he and Don Mathias die:
His father was my chiefest enemy." II, 158.
When Jacomo converts Abigail:
,,0ne turn'd my daughter, therefore he shall die." IV, 167.
3 ) Cf. ante 24 note 2.
4 ) When they would take his goods for inherent sin, he cries:
"What, bring you Scripture to confirm you wrongs?" I, 149.
It is generally assumed this suggested Shakspere's famous: ,,The
Devil can cite Scripture" etc.
The main thought of this is to be found in Gentillet
He believes himself justified in deceiving- them in
"It's no sin to deceive a Christian;
For they themselves hold it a principle,
Faith is not to be held with heretics:
But all are heretics that are not Jews." II, 159. 2 )
He is a consummate dissembler, 3 ) and believes religion
a cloak for crime: -
"She has confess'd, and we are both undone,
My bbsom inmate! but I must dissemble.
[Aside to Ithamore.
holy friars, the burden of my sins
Lie heavy on my soul! then pray you, tell me,
Is't not too late now to turn Christian?" IV, 166.
"Ay, daughter; for religion
Hides many mischiefs from suspicion.
As good dissemble that thou never mean'st,
As first mean truth and then dissemble it:
A counterfeit profession is better
Than unseen hypocrisy." I, 151.
This, of course, is Gentillet II, 1 and "Principe" 18.
He considers treachery a kingly trade:
"Why, is not this
A kingly kind of trade, to purchase towns
By treachery, and sell 'em by deceit?" V, 177. 4 )
') Cf. also Discorsi II, 2. Prin. 18 character of Alex. VI.
2 ) Cf. II Tamb.
" for with such infidels,
In whom no faith nor true religion rests,
We are not bound to those accomplishments
The holy laws of Christendom enjoin:" II-, 49.
3 ) The Jews call him "good Barabas" I, 148.
4 ) This again is a perversion of Prin. 18. Cf. Disc. I, 9 (42): 1st.
Fior. VII (193).
He is a perfect egoist: -
'Ego mihimet sum semper proximus :" I, 148.
'Tor, so I live, perish may all the world!" V, 177.
This is the very gist of Machiavelli's teachings. He
is also most subtle and far-seeing: -
"No, Barabas is borne to better chance,
And fram'd of finer mould than common men,
That measure nought but by the present time.
A reaching thought will search his deepest wits,
And cast with cunning- for the time to come;
For evils are apt to happen every day." I, 151. 1 )
He has a shrewd insight into politics: -
"Thus hast thou gotten, by thy policy,
No simple place, no small authority:
I now am governor of Malta; true, -
But Malta hates me, and, in hating me,
My life's in danger; and what boots it thee, [5
Poor Barabas, to be the governor,
Whenas thy life shall be at their command?
No, Barabas, this must be look'd into;
And, since by wrong thou gott'st authority,
Maintain it bravely by firm policy; [10
At least, unprofitably lose it not ;
For he that liveth in authority,
And neither gets him friends nor fills his bags,
Lives like the ass that Aesop speaketh of,
That labours with a load of bread and wine, [15
And leaves it off to snap on thistle-tops:
But Barabas will be more circumspect.
Begin betimes ; Occasion's bald behind :
Slip not thine opportunity, for fear too late
Thou seek'st for much, but canst not compass it." [20
Ward 2 ) says this speech "has something like the true
ring of the Prince itself, by which Macchiavelli's name was
*) Mach. advocates this in Prin. 3. Vide ante 27, note 1.
2 ) I, 186.
chiefly known to the foreign world." Indeed, lines 4, 5
are adopted from Machiavelli ; ') as also 910, and 18 20.
But lines 11 13 show plainly the influence of Gentillet,
and may be compared with:
"Thus, loving neither, will I live by both,
Making a profit of my policy;
And he from whom my most advantage comes,
Shall be my friend." V, 176. 2 )
Again ; he knows : -
"And crowns come either by succession,
Or urg'd by force; and npthing violent,
Oft have I heard tell, can be permanent." I, 147.
This is the argument of "Principe" II. As the main
drift of "Principe" 18 may be considered: -
"Be rul'd by me, for in extremity
We ought to make bar of no policy." I, 151.
He even believes that to follow the dictates of con-
science means beggary: -
,,Haply some hapless man hath conscience,
And for his conscience lives in beggary." I, 147. 8 )
He would have his accomplice as himself, void of love,
hope, fear, and pity: -
"First, be thou void of these affections,
Compassion, love, vain hope, and heartless fear;
J ) Prin. XVII.
2 ) This as well as the line in the prologue, "Which money
was not got without my means," can only come from Gentillet's usury-
accusation ; for in Machiavelli it is not. Money is Barabas' very soul :
"For, whilst I live, here lives my soul's sole hope,
And, when I die, here shall my spirit walk" II, 153.
He believes it to be the source of all esteem: -
"Or who is honour'd now but for his wealth" I, 147.
He declares himself: -
" a covetous wretch.
That would for lucre's sake have sold my soul." IV, 166.
3 ) This will be found again in Barnes' "Divels Charter".
Be mov'd at nothing 1 , see thou pity none,
But to thyself smile when the Christian moan." IT, 157.
He tells the audience he learned his art in Florence
- from Machiavelli, of course :
"We Jews can fawn like spaniels when we please;
And when we grin we bite; yet are our looks
As innocent and harmless as a lamb's.
I learn'd in Florence how to kiss my hand,
Heave up my shoulders when they call me dog,
And duck as low as any bare-foot friar." II, 155. 1 )
When preparing the poison for Abigail, he refers to
Borgia's 2 ) wine with the intent to call up in the audience's
imagination Machiavelli, popularly supposed to have been
"Stay; first let me stir it, Ithamore.
And with her let it work like Borgia's wine,
Whereof his sire the Pope was poisoned." Ill, 164.
His scheme of killing all the Turks at a banquet is
that described in the "Principe" as used by Oliverotto da
He dies blaspheming as Machiavelli was supposed to
have done: -
"Damn'd Christian dog's, and Turkish infidels!
But now begins the extremity of heat
To pinch me with intolerable pangs :
Die, life! fly, soul; tongue, curse thy fill, and die!" V, 178.
Finally, Ithamore declares her acts under the devil's
control; which became the popular opinion concerning
"Why, the devil invented a challenge, my master writ it, and
I carried it " III, 162.
1 ) Not a word of all this in Machiavelli.
2 ) As with Borgia, it was death to dine with Barabas.
"Please you dine with me, sir and you shall be most
heartily poisoned." [aside] IV, 171.
Surely, after viewing 1 this demoniac picture of the first
Machiavellian, 1 ) we shall not wonder at discovering the Floren-
tine conceived by the English dramatists as the very devil
incarnate, nor find it strange that Barabas became a stock-
figure! No better example could be given of the influence
of this play, than, anticipating a little, by citing the case
of Heywood, who edited the "Jew of Malta" in 1633, and
wrote in the court prologue : 2 )
" you shall find him still,
111 all his projects, a sound Machiavill;
And that's his character." Dyce 142.
1 ) Of. Sat. Kev. (Mar. 8, 1884) "The received view, which finds
expression both in Shakspere and Marlowe, may have been an exagge-
rated one, but it is not wonderful that for upwards of two centuries
the word "Machiavellian" should have retained the sort of evil conno-
tation which Goethe has since taught us to affix to Mephistophelian."
How about Marlowe! also Nation (Oct. 22, 1891): "Machiavelli's Prince
has had no peer in modern literature except Goethe's Mephistopheles
. . . , of course, Machiavelli no more invented the traits which are called
by his name than Goethe invented those traits in human nature which
he personified in Mephistopheles."
2 ) "Marlowe's Jew of Malta-Tragodie stellt eine solche gegen-
seitige Durchdringung von geldsuchtigem, mammonischem Judeu- und
Staatsgeist dar, von jiidischer Geldteufelbesessenheit und Politik. Eine
Tragodie, deren Held ein von damonischer Geldleideuschaft und Ge-
winnsucht durchgliihter Jude-Macchiavell, doch nur als Symbol
und Reflex gleichsam des wahren Helden der Tragodie erscheint, der
da ist der Staat-Jude; der Macchiavell-Jude, ein Macchiavelli-
scher Principe-Giudeo, die Quintessenz von Macchiavell's Staatsdoctrin ;
der principielle Eigenuutz als Herrschaftgrundsatz , die systematisirte
absolute Selbstsucht als Staatsraison, die codificirte Raubsucht, sub specie
der absoluten Geld-Anhaufungsgier, und diese in Gestalt eines Juden;
unersattliche Geldsucht als eingefleischter Jude. der aber Fleisch von
Macchiavelli's Staatsraison ist, der Goldbriinstige , von unbedingter,
fanatischer Ausbeutungsgier verzerrte und entbrannte Jude. Fttrwahr
eine ebenso grossartige, wie von tiefer Erfassung der Solidaritat des
Juden- und Staats - Macchiavellismus zeugende Geschichtsanschauung ;
in Rucksicht auf die tragische Blilme von epochemachender Conceptions-
urspriinglichkeit." Klein: op. cit. 670.
Cf. also Quar. Rev. Oct. 1885 p. 363.
Up to this time he had never mentioned Machiavelli
in any of his numerous plays ; but so vividly had this picture
of Marlowe's been impressed upon his mind, that his very
next play, "A Mayden-Head Well Lost" contains this
(Stroza in Florence fearing* the Prince knows Julia's
"All goes not well, This iugling will be found,
Then where am I? would I were safe in Millaine.
Here Matchiuell thou wast hatcht: Could not the same
Planet inspire this pate of mine with some
Rare stratagem, worthy a lasting character."
(ed. 1874: IV, 146).
and contains such maxims as: -
"Let millions fall, so I bee crown'd with rest." IV, 151.
Immediately after Marlowe's play in the same year, the
first instance is to be found of a man nick-named Machiavel.
"You know that Waldegrave's printing presse and
Letters were takken away .... sawen and hewed
in pieces ... his Letters melted ... (by John Wolfe,
alias Machivill, Beadle of the Stacioners, and most
tormenting executioner of Waldegrave's goods)." ')
In this year also appeared a third edition of White-
home's "Arte of Warre". 2 )
Marlowe's call upon Machiavelli was answered by a
host of writers. In the year after (1589) Nashe published
"Tamburlaine became the prototype of the stage hero. Barrabas
became the prototype of the stage villain. To enumerate the characters
modelled on these creations of Marlowe would be to transcribe the
leading dramatis personae of at least two thirds of the heroic dramas
in vogue during the latter years of the 16 century."
') "Oh read over D. John Bridges" 1588 ed. 1842 p. 30. Herbert
 says, Woolfe was in special favour with the court of assistants,
and chosen from his diligence in hunting out and giving intelligence
of books disorderly printed: this gives point to the sobriquet.
2 ) Herbert, II, 784.
Meyer, Machiavelli. 4
his pamphlet: "The Return of the Renowned Cavalier o
Pasquill". In it occurs the following: -
"How odious and how dangerous innovations of Re-
ligion are, Secretarie MachiavejL__a_j)ollitick not
much affected to any Religion, discloseth by the
example of Fryer Savanaroll." Ed. Grosart I, 103.
This he may have had from the "Principe"; but
more likely from Gentillet who discourses much more at
large on Savonarola: the words, "Machiavell, a pollitick
not much affected to any Religion", certainly come from
Gentillet. 3 ) In "Martin's Month's Mind" Nashe used
Machiavellists as a well understood word ; 2 ) in it we find : -
"Item, I bequeath to my lay brethren, my works of
Machiavell, with my marginall notes and scholies
thereupon; wishing them to peruse, and mark them
well, being the very Thalmud, and Alcoran of all
our Martinisme." Death and Buriall of Martin Mar-
prelate. I, 191.
As will be seen, the words, "with my marginall notes",
are of importance for Greene.
Further on in the same occurs this passage: -
"Or have you not given him (quoth Martin the Medium)
an Italian figge? no no Matt. That's a Machivillian
tricke ; and, some of your mates are better acquainted
with it." (Op. cit. 174.)
which shows plainly, poisoning was now looked upon as a
Machiavellian trick, thanks to Barabas and Gentillet. Again
x ) Vide Patericke "But it is no mervaile if this Atheist, who hath
no religion doth play with Keligious deriding all, willing- also to per-
suade a prince to forge a new one" etc. 135.
2 ) "And this is the short summe of Martin's schoole. I meddle
not here with the Anabaptists, Famely Lovists, Machiavellistes, nor
Atheists .... they are so generally scattered throughout every forme."
Nashe ed. Grosart I, 164.
"A Machevilian tricke of the Martinists yet in
Againe (which worse was) manie of them [the
Queen's Counsellors] I slandered against mine owne
knowledge : and I thought it enough, if I might but devise
against them the vilest things of the world, to bring
them in hatred with the credulous multitude: (a
divelish tricke, my sonnes, which I learned in Machi-
vell, but take heede of it, for it asketh vengeance)."
This he may have had direct from the "Principe"; but
it is also in Gentillet III, 11, and was cited by Father
Parsons. J ) Again occurs the "Machiavellistes" ; 2 ) the second
stanza of "The Author's Epitaph" runs thus: -
"0! vos Martinistae
Et vos Brounistae
Et Omnes sectistae
Quorum dux fait iste
Lugete sing-uli." ibid. 199.
and "Young Martin's Epitaph" contains these lines: -
"By nature an Atheist
By arte a Machivelist,
In summe a Sathainist." ibid. 204.
In this year also Shakspere probably produced "Titus
Andronicus", a direct outcome of the "Spanish Tragedy"
*) Ante 24.
2 ) "Lament ye fooles, ye vices make your moane,
Yee Bibaulds, railers, and yee lying lads:
Yee Scismatiques, and Sectaries, each one:
Yee Malcontents, and eke ye mutinous swads:
Ye Machivelists, Atheists, and each mischievous head:
Beivaile, for Martin, your great Captaine's dead." Ibid. 198.
and the "Jew of Malta"; but of the former far more than
of the latter: ') Aaron portrays himself, just as Barabas
does, in a passage palpably imitated : 2 )
"Even now I curse the day and yet, I think.
Few come within the compass of my curse -
Wherein I did not some notorious ill:
As kill a man, or else devise his death;
Kavish a maid, or plot the way to do it;
Accuse some innocent, and forswear myself;
Set deadly enmity between two friends;
Make poor men's cattle break their necks;
Set fire on barns and hay-stacks in the night
And bid the owners quench them with their tears.
Oft have I digg'd up dead men from their graves,
And set them upright at their dear friends' doors,
Even when their sorrows almost were forgot;
And on their skins, as on the bark of trees,
Have with my knife carved in Roman letters
'Let not your sorrow die, though I am dead.'
Tut I have done a thousand dreadful things
As willingly as one would kill a fly;
And nothing grieves me heartily indeed,
But that I cannot do ten thousand more.
If there be devils, would I were a devil." V, 1 (125).
Like Barabas he is ever for revenge.
"Vengeance is in my heart, death in my hand,
Blood and revenge are hammering in my head." II, 3 (37).
His lust is as characteristic of him, as usury was of
Barabas. He dies blaspheming as Barabas did, and as
Machiavelli was supposed to have done. But this is the
only "Florentine" trait 3 ) in him : he does not use poison, nor
*) Andronicus = Jeronimo : Lucius = Horatio : Aaron = Barabas.
2 ) Vide ante 33.
8 ) Characteristic of all the Elizabethan Machiavellians : it is strange
the dramatists never got hold of Machiavelli's remarkable vision on his
death-bed (vide Blackwood's Mag. II, 691).
has he knowledge of state-matters as Barabas : in short, he
is a villain but no "Matchavillain".
The next year (1590), in a work of Eichard Harvey, 1 )
we find Gentillet supposed so well known to English readers
that he need be referred to not by name, but simply as "a
religious french protestant".
"Italy, in old times the true mirrour of virtue and
manhood, of late yeares hath beene noted, to
breed up infinite Atheists, such Caesar Borgia was,
that using or abusing himself in his life to contemne
religion, despised it on his death-bed, .... but of
chiefest name those three notable pernitious fellowes,
Pomponatius a great philosopher, Aretine a great
courtier or rather courtisan, the gmndsire of all false
find martinish courtier ship , and Machiavel a great
politicke But Aretine spake ill of that heavenly
God he knew not, and perished through his owne
carnall corruption Yet Machiavel not so ill
as Aretine, yet Machiavel too ill, God knoweth. This
unchristian master of policie, raising up Nicolaites
now of his stamp, as Nicholas an Apostata did
among the seven Deacons, is not afraid in a heathenish
and tyrranical spirit, / 2. of warly art, in the person
of Fabricio, to accuse the gospel of Christ, and the
humilitie of the lamb of God, for the decay of the
most flourishing and prosperous estate of the Roman
Empire, which fell by its owne idleness and follie,
as himself confesseth LI.... His discoursive
accusation is in many mens hands, and I would to
God the intended eifect of the discourse were not
in some men's harts : howbeit, the same is learnedly
confuted, not only by a religious french protestant
"A Theological Discourse of the Lamb of God and his Ene-
whose commentaries are extant, written ex professo,
against Machiavel and his anti-christian groundes
of government, .... it is most certaine. that no
man is more carefull to do his dutie, then a Christian
conscience .... and that secretary of hell, not only
of Florence, is forced to confesse in some places /. 1.
disc. c. 11. upon Livy, and elsewhere, but most em-
phatically in his proeme to L. Philip Strozza, by
vehement and zealous interrogation: In whom ought
there to be more feare of God, then in a warriour, which
everyday committing himselfe to infinite perils hath most
neede of his helpe ? A right Italian sentence, a notable
word, a fit preserve against the other venims which
this Spider gathered out of old philosophers and
heathen authors; for that it is the wit and dispo-
sition of our reformative age, to gather precepts
from those things which our fore -fathers in their
learning judged no better then objections, and to
study those matters for practice, which were first
tought them for their safety, by knowing and
avoiding them ." Op. cit. 9498.
The author had evidently studied not only Machiavelli
carefully, but also Gentillet, from whom he adopted the
atheism accusation, and that of "having borrowed out of
heathen authors", which as we have seen was the French-
In this same year Nashe again refers to the "Prince",
and quotes from it. 1 )
*) "I compared him (Savanarolla) with Martin for hys factious head,
pleading in Florence as Martin did in England, for a newe government,
at such a time as Armes and invasion clattered about their eares. It
may be I am of some better sente then you take me for, and finding
a Machivillian tricke in this plot of innovation, I was the more willing
to lay Savanarol's example before your eyes, that having recourse unto
Machiavell in whom it is recorded, you might see MachiaveVs judge-
ment upon the same. His opinion is, that when such a peaze may be
In Marlowe's next play, "King Edward IF, the character
of Mortimer shows the influence of Machiavellian study,
though but slightly. He uses Lightborn x ) to kill the King,
and then has him murdered : 2 ) Marlowe pictures him as
cloaking his villainy under religious hypocrisy, which trait
is not to be found in Fabyan, the source of this play.
"They thrust upon me the protectorship,
And sue to me for that that I desire;
While at the council-table, grave enough,
And not unlike a bashful puritan,
First I complain of imbecility,
Saying it is onus quam gravissimum;
Till, being interrupted by my friends,
Suscepi that provinciam, as they term it
And, to conclude, I am Protector now." Dyce 218.
Two other ideas go more directly to the "Principe" : -
Mort.) "The king must die, or Mortimer goes down;
The commons now begin to pity him." 217. *)
Mort.) "Fear'd am I more than lov'd: let me be fear'd,
And, when I frown, make all the court look pale."*)
drawn through the noses of the people as to beare a change, the
Maisters of the Faction are most happie ; they may doe what they lust
without controlment." "The First Parte of Pasquils apologie." I, 218.
J ) Lightborn himself must have struck the popular mind as a great
Machiavel: he knew even more ways of killing than Barabas.
"I learn'd in Naples how to poison flowers;
To strangle with a lawn thrust down the throat;
To pierce the wind-pipe with a needle's point;
Or, whilst one is asleep, to take a quill,
And blow a little powder in his ears;
Or, open his mouth, and pour quick-silver down.
But yet I have a braver way than these." Dyce 217.
' 2 ) This is as old as cunning ; but, as we have seen, Lorenzo used
it: Machiavelli tacitly recommends it in Cesare Borgia. Ante p. 26.
3 ) Cf. Prin. XIX: 1st. Fior. VI (85).
4 ) The most notorious of the maxims. Prin. XVII : Gent, III, 9 ;
also Disc. Ill, 21 (380): 1st. Fior. II (130).
Having heard from the prologue of the "Jew of
Malta" that Machiavelli's spirit had once taken up habi-
tation in the Guise , 1 ) we would naturally expect to find
a disciple of his in the "Massacre at Paris ; but, although
he is a murderer, dissembler, and poisoner, there is no
Machiavellian feature in this mutilated play except the
Guise's hypocrisy in religion.
Fie, I am asham'd, however that I seem,
To think a word of such a simple sound,
Of so great matter should be made the ground."
Shakspere was the next dramatist to mention Machia-
velli: viz. in I JHenry VL_
Pucelle) "You are deceiv'd; my child is none of his: [Charles']
It was Alen^on that enjoy 'd my love.
York) Alencon that notorious Machiavel ! 2 )
It dies, an if it had a thousand lives." V. 4 (72).
Pope took the line, "Alengon Machiavel", out of the
text, and put it in the margin. 3 )
Delius remarks here: "Machiavell, als der sprichwort-
liche Typus eines schlauen und gewissenlosen Eankeschmieds,
wird hier eben so anachronistisch angefiihrt, wie in
K. Henry VI Third Part .... Sh. kannte ihn vielleicht
aus dem Prolog zu Marlowe's Jew of Malta, den der italie-
nische Staatsmann spricht und mit einer Charakteristik
seiner selbst eroffnet." 4 )
') Collier ("Eng. Dram. Poet." II, 512) for this reason, placed the
"Massacre" anterior to the "Jew of M.".
2 ) Machevile F. 1, 2, 3. Matchevile F. 4.
3 ) Sh. ed. Clarke-Wright Vol. 5 p. 95. Cf. John.-Steev.-Keed edition
Vol. 13 p. 169.
4 ) Sh. ed. Delius I, 849. Cf. Singer-Lloyd Vol. 6, p. 110. "The
character of Machiavel seems to have made so very deep an impression
on the dramatic writers of this age, that he is many times introduced
without regard to anachronism."
But Schlegel's observation on the passage in 3 Henry VI
applies here as well as there. "Emeu Anachronismus mochte
ich es nicht einmal nennen, wenn Eichard der Dritte von
Maccliiavell spricht. Dieser Name wird hier ganz sprich-
wortlich genommen: der Inhalt des Buches vom Flirsten
war von jeher vorhanden, seit es Tyrannen gab : Macchiavell
hat ihn nur zuerst anfgeschrieben." *) It is no more an
anachronism to use Machiavelli's name before his birth, than
to use "Assassin" in the same way which would appear
anachronistic to no one. Schlegel gives us the gist of the
whole matter : Shakspere and his contemporaries, like
Corneille 2 ) jmd^Jiis^- simply d4tbkd^^a3Jr- the h6rroj;S__and
cruelties invented by tiiemseives tor iheiiy, tyrant heroes,
"Machiavellism" ; and for this very reason their use of the
Florentine jjteems to us unskilful and clumsv.J^. Up_to__the_
point where Shakspere 4 ) mentions Machiavelli, Alengon has
Steevens had already said: "The character of Machiavel seems to
have made so very deep an impression on the dramatick writers of
this age that he is many times as prematurely spoken of." So, in "The
Valiant Welshman", 1615 (ed. J.-S.-E. XIII, 169).
') "Vorl. iiber dram. Kunst." II, 180.
2 ) Schlegel says of "China" : ,,Es offenbart sich hier schon die Au-
lage zu einem Macchiavellismus der Triebfedern, worein die Dichtung
des Corneille spaterhin ganz nnd gar ausartete, und der nicht blofs
widerwartig, sondern obendrein meistens ungeschickt und schwerfallig
ist. Er schmeichelte sich, in Absicht auf Welt-- und Menschenkenntnis,
Hof und Politik, die Feinsten zu iiberseheii. Mit einem grundehrlichen
Gemiit hatte er die Anmafsung, ,,den morderischen Macchiavell in die
Lehre" nehmen zu wollen, und kramt Alles, was er sich von dergleichen
Kimsteii gemerkt hat, breit und lehrhaft aus." ibidem 77. This is ex-
actly what the Elizabethans were doing. It is interesting to compare
Lessing also on Corneille. ,,Die Cleopatra des Corneille, die so eine
Frau ist, die ihren Ehrgeiz, ihren beleidigten Stolz zu befriedigen sich
alle Verbrechen erlaubt, die mit nichts als mit Macchiavellischeu Maximen
um sich wirft, ist ein Ungeheuer ihres Geschlechts und Medea ist gegen
ihr tugendhaft und liebeuswiirdig." Hamb. Dram. 11. Aug. 1767.
3 ) The same is true of Ben Jonson's and Alfieri's use of Tacitus.
Of. Schlegel I, 359.
4 ) This essay assumes the three Henry VI to be Shakspere's; if.
shown no Machiaveilism : but his vary ne%t remark contains
a maxim from the "Principe" or Gentille^jgjfjbo uphold
the sobriquet just given him.
Alen) "To say the truth, it is your policy
To save your subjects from such massacre
And ruthless slaughters as are daily seen
By our proceeding- in hostility;
And therefore take this compact of a truce,
Although you break it when your pleasure serves." 1 )
V, 4 (159).
That Shakspere had Gentillet in mind is perfectly
evident : the French protestant dedicated his work to Alenc,on,
and received ridicule in return from the notorious Machia-
vellian. Shakspere saw the absurdity of this and dubbed
his AJen^on "a notorious Machiavel". Not of course, that
it is for a moment conjectured he confounded the two
In the year 1591 Greene, having let Machiavelli rest
since 1583, again used the new- coined word.
,,Sith then this cursed crue, these Machiavilians [cony-
catchers] that neither care for God nor devill, but
set with the Epicures gaine, and ease, their swrawww
bonum, cannot be called to anie honest course of
living" etc. 2 )
however, this one is to be attributed to Marlowe, Greene or Peele, in its
original form, surely the vile caricature of Joan d'Arc cries out for
Peele. She is portrayed with the same malignant prejudice which Peele
applied to Longshank's noble wife Eleanor in his "Edward I" to curry
popular applause in defaming Spain, just as has here been done in
*) But this is common enough in Shakspere; so in 3 Henry VI.
Edw.) "But for a kingdom any oath may be broken:
I would break a thousand oaths to reign one year."
I, 2 (16).
Cf. Prin. XVHI: 1st, Fior. VIII, (225): also Gent. Ill, 21.
2 ) "The Second Part of Connie Catching." Grosart X, 73.
As a direct outcome of Marlowe's prologue, must be
viewed a play called "Machiavel", l ) now acted at the Rose
theatre. No copy has as yet been found; it was probably
something in the Barabas line. 2 )
The next mention of Machiavelli is again made by
Shakspere in "^^t^JJ"- ^ e substituted "the murderous
Machiavel" for tlie aspiring Catalin" of "The True Tragedy
ofjSc^ird III", which he was remodeling. Gloster's monologue
nT'tlie "True Tragedy" III, 2 contains just thirty lines.
Shakspere expanded this to seventy-two. Since Shakspere
portrays his Richard as the schoolmaster of Machiavelli, the
parallel passages are given.
Glo.) True Tragedy III, 2
"Tnt I can smile, and murder when
I crie content, to that that greeves
I can add colours to the Camelion,
And for a need change shapes with
And set the aspiring Catalin to
Can I do this, and cannot get the
Tush were it ten times higher, He
put it downe.
3 Henry VI, III, 2
"Why, I can smile, and murder while
And cry, content, to that which
grieves my heart,
And wet my cheeks with artificial
And frame my face to all occasions.
I'll drown more sailors than the
I'll slay more gazers than the ba-
I'll play the orator as well as
1 ) "Machiavel: A play acted at the Rose Theatre in 1591" Hazlitt
2 ) That the Machiavel inspired only hatred may be seen from
what Geneste (I, 493) says of y post-Restoration actor :
"Sandford was an excellent actor in disagreeable characters,
such as Creon, Malignii, Jago, and Machiavel [perhaps in
Lee's "Caesar Borgia"] .... Cibber had often lamented that
Sandford's masterly performance was not rewarded with that
applause, which inferior actors met with, merely because they
stood in more amiable characters .... in this disagreeable
light stood Sandford as an actor -- from parts he played,
disliked by the multitude."
Deceive more slily than Ulysses
And like a Sinon, take another
I can add colours to the Chame-
Change shades with Proteus for
And set the mur'drous Machiavel J )
Can I do this, and cannot get a
Tut ! were it further off, I'll pluck
Ill, 2 (182).
Pope put this "Machiavel" line also in the margin;
Warburton 2 ) wanted to replace "the aspiring Cataline". 8 )
Shakspere has made Richard much more of a villain ;
he is a murc|erej" and a dissembler; he is also quick jor
"Tears then for babes; blows and revenge for me!" II, 1 (86).
and believes in taking time by the fore-lock.
"Come Warwick, take the time -
Nay, when? strike now, or else the iron cools." V, 1 (47).
') Machevill F. 1, 2, 3. Matchevil F. 4.
Collier remarks: "In the time of Shakespeare, the name of
Machiavel had become almost synonymous with a wily, un-
scrupulous politician. Notwithstanding the anachronism, he
therefore substituted "murderous Machiavel" for "aspiring
Cataline" as it stands in "The True Tragedy" 1595, because
he thought the allusion would be better understood." (Sh.
ed. Coll. IV, 167). Cf. Athenaeum July 29, 82.
*) "And set the mur'drous Machiavel to school." As this is an ana-
chronism, and the old quarto reads: "And set the aspiring Cataline
to school" 1 don't know why it should be preferred." Warburton.
Steevens remarks: "This is not the first proof I have met
with, that Shakspeare, in his attempts to familiarize ideas, has dimini-
shed their propriety." Sh. ed. John-Steev-Keed 14. 116.
3 ) Mai one says in his dissertation : "Cataline was a person that
He is a supreme egoist:
'I have no brother, I am like uo brother;
And this word "love", which g-reybeards call divine,
Be resident in men like one another
And not in me: I am myself alone". V, 6 (80).
All of this we have had before in Barabas: there is
not a line in the three parts of Henry VI which testifies
to other knowledge of Machiavelli than the mere name,
unless it be the one maxim of perjury 1 ) :
Edw.) "But for a kingdom any oath may be broken:
I would break a thousand oaths to reign one year." (I, 2, 16).
and this one bears the stamp of Gentillet, not of the
"Principe" : 2 ) or it may have been found in Plutarch, beside
would naturally occur to Peele or Greene, as the most splendid classical
example of inordinate ambition ; but Shakspeare, who was more con-
versant with English books, substituted Machiavel, whose name was in
such frequent use in his time that it became a specific term for a con-
summate politician; and accordingly he makes his host in The Merry
Wives of Windsor, when he means to boast of his own shrewdness,
exclaim, 'am I subtle? am I a Machiavel?' " Sh. ed. J. S. R. Vol. 14.
Cf. also ed. Collier 4 (167).
The Singer-Lloyd ed. remarks : "by 'the aspiring Cataline' the
anachronism is also avoided. Machiavel is mentioned in various books
of the poet's age as the great exemplar of profound politicians. An
amusing instance of the odium attached to his name is to be found in
Gill's Logonomia Anglica, 1621 : "Et ne semper Sidneios loquamur,
audi epilogum fabulae quam docuit Boreali dialecto poeta, titulumque
fuit reus Machivellus:
Machil iz hanged And brenned iz his buks Though Machil
is hanged Yet he is not wranged, The Di'el haz him
fanged In his cruked cluks."
The editor should have acknowledged this "amusing instance"
from Boswell (Sh. Mai. ed. Bos. XVIII), where two more lines are
added: "Machil iz hanged And brenned iz his buks."
') Vide ante p. 58. Cf. also "Malone by Bos." XVIII, 18.
2 ) To be sure, Brandl says ,.aber die Wege, welche York wahlt,
sind krumm und dimkel. Maulwurfartig wiihlt er unter der Erde, in
the very passage, which Greene acknowledged as the source
of one of his most pronounced "Machiavellian maxims". J )
Peele also wrote, probably at this time, his "Battle of
Alcazar", in which the moor, Muly Muhamet forms the
connecting link between Barabas and Eleazar in "Lusts
Dominion": Muly is a wretched villain; one who can: -
" submit himself and live below,
Make show of friendship, promise, vow, and swear,
Till by the virtue of his fair pretence
He makes himself possessor of such fruits
As grow upon such great advantages." II, 3 (Dyce 428).
He cites no maxims, however, but dies cursing as all
these tyrants do.
The next year (1592) Marlowe and Shakspere's planting
brought forth a rich harvest. Nicholas Breton opened Jiis
popular citations from Machiavelli. ~
"Now, on the left hande, went another crue,
A hatefull sort, of hellish company:
Which, to their welth, and wortheless honor grue,
den Massen. Ein Schmied verrath ims zuerst seine Umtriebe. Die
Renter stachelt er zum Aufstand und giebt ihnen an Jack Cade einen
Fiihrer. Er thut jetzt weit Argeres als die Chronisten ihm zuschreiben.
Er lafst sich nach Irland schicken, urn ein Heer zu sammeln und dann
gegen den Monarchen zu fiihren, entlafst es aber, da er sich noch zu
schwach fiihlt, und spielt den Derniitigen, bis ihm koniglicher Wort-
bruch erlaubt, mit einem lauten, edel klingenden Pathos dem Hofe
oifen entgegenzutreten und zu siegen. Marlowe, Greene, Shakspere
citiert Macchiavelli ; die Potentaten der Zeit iiberitrugen seine riick-
sichtslosen antikisierenden Machtlehren in die Wirklichkeit; sein Typus
des Eroberers aus eigener Kraft als des einzigen der sich auf die
Dauer halten kann ward in Marlowes Tamerlan gleichsam verkorpert ,
und wie ein Studienkopf aus derselben Schule uimmt sich York aus."
Shak. 63. But this head is eminently Marlowesque and not Machia-
x ) "Children", he [Lysander] said, "were to be cheated with cockalls,
and men with oaths." Pint. ed. Langhorne 310.
By wicked workes, of wofull villainy:
Which, by the trades of Machavile instructed,
Were by the devill, to his hel conducted."
Pilgrimage to Paradise. Gros. I, 17.
This is from Barabas ; since Machiavelli nowhere instructs
how to obtain wealth.
Gabriel Harvey also continues. ') Of more importance
is the fact that Greene cites him in his most finished and
probably last play, "James IV".
Slipper has stolen Ateukin's warrant for Dorothea's
murder, and given it to Sir Bertram:
Ateu.) "Where be my writings I put in my pocket last night?
And.) Which, sir? Your Annotations upon Machiavel.
Ateu.) No Sir." Ill, 2 (Dyce 204).
The idea of "annotations upon Machiavel", certainly
goes back to the phrase of Greene's intimate acquaintance
Nashe 2 ) ,,my works of Machiavell, with my marginal notes
and scholies thereupon".
Ateukin is, however, a very weak villain; to be sure,
he is called a fox, 3 ) lives by "cozening the king", 4 ) and
counsels him to kill Dorothea ; 5 ) but as soon as his plans go
wrong he shows himself a repentant coward. 6 ) He lives by
J ) : ' Plutarch is gravely wise; and Macchiavell subtilly politike;
but in either of them what sounder, or finer piece of cunning, than to
reape commodity by him that seeketh my displeasure."
"Foure Letters and Certain Sonnets." Gros. I, 166.
2 ) Vide ante p. 42.
3 ) "Peace. Ida, I perceive the fox at hand." II, 197.
*) And.) "My master lives by cozening the king." IV, 208.
5 ) II, 202.
*) "0, what are subtle means to climb on high,
When every fall swarms with exceeding shame?
cursed race of men, that traffic guile,
Asham'd of life, asham'd that I have err'd,
I'll hide myself." V, 3 (214).
flattery, J ) does not deal in poisons, but professes to be an
astrologer 2 ) and to use charms. 3 ) The only Machiavellian
counsels he gives are.
1. "Why. prince, it is 110 murder in a king.
To end another's life to save his own:
For you are not as common people be
Who die and perish with a few men's tears;
But if you fail, the state doth whole default,
The realm is rent in twain in such a loss.
'Tis policy, my liege, in every state,
To cut off members that disturb the head :" IV, 5 (210).
This is as old in English drama as "Tancred and
Ghismunda", and from Seneca, no doubt, though Greene may
have been thinking of the Florentine.
'2. "You are the king, the state depends on you;
Your will is law." 4 ) I, 1 (192).
but this is very general. Thus, we see, Ateukin
seeking to gratify the king's lust and his own ambition, is
not a Marlowesque villain, but one in the future style of
Beaumont and Fletcher, more usually entrusted with a
royal "liaison" than with ,,ragioni degli stati".
Greene's play "Alphonsus" is a very palpable imitation
of "Tamburlaine." Alphonsus' treatment of Belinus is not
unlike Tambmiaine's manner of dealing with Cusroe; -
but this Machiavellianism is, of course, at second hand and
common enough in all history.
"Selimus", (whether by Greene or not), is another open
*) His original name appears to have been Gnatho: Of. 200, 202;
also Creizenach: "Anglia" 8, 422.
2 ) I, 1 (191).
3 ) I, 1 (192).
4 ) In this same passage the king is called "a lion" by this "fox",
which sounds Machiavellian, but which Greene had from Lysauder.
imitation of Marlowe's great Scythian; but contains some
real Machiavellian passages. Selimus is Tamburlaine with
a little of Barabas added to him: he wades to the crown
through blood, and then kills all his helpers; but he uses
poisons, assassins, and such contrivances which Tamburlaine
did not. He exclaims: -
"Let them view iii me
The perfect picture of right tyrannic." Grosart. 14, 203.
He is a religious hypocrite: -
"I count it sacriledge, for to be holy
Or reverence this thread-bare name of good;
And scorue religion; it disgraces man." (202)
"For nothing is more hurtfull to a Prince
Then to be scrupulous and religious." (258).
All this we have had before in the Guise : incontinently
upon the last passage follows: -
"I like Ly Sander's counsell passing well;
If that I cannot speed with lyon's force,
To cloath my complots in a foxe's skin."
"And one of these shall still maintaine,
Or foxe's skin, or lion's rending pawes." 258.
which shows Greene had Plutarch in mind. *)
Selimus knows: -
"Wisdome commands to follow tide and winde,
And catch the front of swift occasion
Before she be too quickly overgone." 202.
This we have also had in Gloucester, as well as in
*) "\Ylien he [Lysander] was told, it did not become the descen-
dants of Hercules to adopt such artful expedients, he turned it off
with a jest, and said "Where the lion's skin falls short, it must be
eked out with the fox's"." Plut. ed. Langh. 309.
Meyer, Machiavelli. 5
One of his counsellors tells him : -
"He knowes riot how to sway the kingly niace
That loves to be great in his peoples grace:
The surest ground for kings to build upon,
Is to be fear'd and curst of everyone.
What though the world of nations me hate?
Hate is peculiar to a princes state." 245.
This is "the better be feared than loved" maxim already
met with, linked to two ideas, which Machiavelli expressly
forbids : disrespect of people, and hate, which fear does not
necessarily imply. 3 )
In this year Greene died a drunkard's death, and left
behind him the famous "Groatsworth of wit". In it he
attributes to his father, Machiavellian egoism: -
- "he had this Philosophic written in a ring, Tu
tibi cura, 2 ) which precept he curiously observed, being
in selfe-love so religious, as he held it no point of
charitie to part with anything, of which he living
might make use." Gros. 12 (104).
His dying advice to Lucanio is:
"Stand not on conscience in causes of profit: but
heape treasure upon treasure, 8 ) for the time of
neede: yet seeme to be devout, else shalt thou be
held vile .... what though they tell of conscience
(as a number will talke) looke but into the dealings
of the world, and thou shalt see it is but idle words
See'st thou not daily forgeries, perjuries, oppressions,
rackings of the poore, raysing of rents, inhauncing
of duties, even by them that should be all conscience,
if they meant as they speake: but Lucanio if thou
reade well this booke, (and with that he reacht him
Machiavel's works at large) thou shalt see what it
*) Prin. XVII: 1st. Fior. II (130).
2 ) Cf. Barabas Ego mihimet sum semper proximus.
3 ) This sounds as if it came from Barabas own lips.
is to be foole-holy, as to make scruple of conscience,
where profit presents itself." Gros. 12 (108).
This whole passage was inspired by Marlowe : Maehia-
velli never counsels for pecuniary profit. Gorinius, after
handing* Machiavelli's works to Lucanio, gives him these
precepts, gathered presumably from the same.
'Make spoyle of yong gallants by insinuating thyselfe
amongst them, and be not moved to think their Aun-
cestors were famous, but consider thine were obscure."
"Regarde not beautie, it is but a baite to entice
thy neighbors eie: and the most faire are commonly
'Use not too many familiars, for few proove friends,
and as easy it is to weigh the wind, as to dive into
the thoughts of worldly glosers." *)
"I tell thee Lucanio .... yet saw I never him,
that I esteemed as my friend but gold." 2 )
"Love none but thyself if thou wilt live esteemed."
And all this from Machiavelli ! ! Further on is the much
"Wonder not (for with thee wil I first begin) thou
famous gracer of Tragedians, that Greene, who hath
said with thee like the foole in his heart, There is
no God, should now give glorie unto his greatnesse :
Why should thy excellent wit, his gift, be so blinded,
that thou shouldst give no glory to the giver? Is
it pestilent Machivilian pollicie that thou hast
studied? punish follie! What are his rules but
Cf. Prin. XXIII.
Everyone will remember Byron's: -
"Alas! how deeply painful is all payment!
Take lives, take wifes, take aught except men's purses,
As Machiavel shows those in purple raiment.
Such is the shortest way to general curses" etc.
Don Juan X, 79.
meere confused mockeries, able to extirpate in a
small time, the generation of mankinde. For if Sic
volo, sic jubeoj hold in those that are able to command :
and it be lawful Fas Et nefas to doe anything that
is beneficial!, onely Tyrants should possesse the earth,
and they striving to exceed in tyranny, should each
to other be a slaughter man; till the mightiest
outliving all, one stroke were left for Death, that in
one age man's life should ende. The brocher of
this Diabolicall Atheisme is dead, and in his life had
never the felicitie he aimed at, but as he began in
craft, lived in feare, and ended in dispaire, Quam
inscrutabilia sunt Dei judicia ? This murderer of many
brethren, had his conscience seared like Caine; this
betrayer of him that gave his life for him, inherited
the portion of Judas : this Apostata perished as ill as
Julian: And wilt thou my friend be his Disciple.
Looke unto me, by him perswaded to that libertie,
and thou shalt finde it an infernall bondage." 142.
All commentators have had their say on this passage.
After Storozhenko's carefull examination of all the arguments
on the question, little remains but to give his results.
Malone *) followed by Dyce, Bernhardi, and all critics up
to 1874, thought the brocher [broacher] of this Diabolicall
Atheisme referred to Kett. Simpson 2 ) first insisted upon
the reference being meant for Machiavelli, which is perfectly
apparent. The Eussian professor proves Kett was not at
*) He probably got his idea from Davies (Athen. Brit. 3767),
who classes Hamont, Lewes, Kett (burned at Norwich 1583, 1579, 1589.
Bloomfield : Hist, of Norfolk III, 290) and Marlowe together as upholders
2 ) He says Malone's idea ,,is nonsense. The broacher of the Ma-
chiavellian doctrine was Machiavelli, who in Greene's day was generally
believed in England to have perished by his own hand". Academy:
Mar. 21st 1874. The words from, "who in Greene's day etc.", are spoken
at random without the least authority.
college when Marlowe was, T ) and cites Pole, Giovius, Lerois,
Ribadeneira, Primaudaye, and Mersenne to prove Machiavelli's
supposed atheisme ; he might better have referred to Gentillet,
who lay much nearer the early Elizabethan dramatists,
and is never tired of denouncing the Florentine as an
How utterly false this accusation was, readers of
Machiavelli know ; he was anything but an atheist, 2 ) though
he dared to compare heathenism w^ith Christianity. So much
then for Greene, who followed in the footsteps of Marlowe 3 )
(in ascribing auri sacra fames to Machiavelli's teachings),
and Gentillet (in denouncing him as an atheist). To this
he added his own damnable forgery, that Machiavelli died
cowardly by his own hand, as Judas was supposed to have
done. Simpson had absolutely no authority for his statement
that "in Greene's day Machiavelli was generally believed
in England to have perished like Judas by his own hand" ;
this was Greene's own foul fabrication. But what more
was to be expected from this blaggard liar, puking forth
his putrid surfeit from a drunkard's death-bed!
The next dramatist to mention Machiavelli was Nashe
in this same year. Thus in "Summer's Last Will and
Winter) ; 'Nay I will justify, there is no vice
Which learning and vile knowledge brought not in,
Or in whose praise some learned have not wrote.
The art of murder Machiavel hath penn'd;
*) Cf. Athen. Cant. II, 38.
2 ) Cf. Discorsi I, 11. Byron's own note to "Childe Harold" IV, 54.
,,Here Machiavelli's earth return'd to whence it rose"
is interesting : ,,The fact is, that Machiavelli, as is usual with those
against whom no crime can be proved, was suspected of and charged
3 ) As Simpson (Sh. Allus. Books I, XL VIII) says: "Marlowe was
really as much opposed to Machiavelli's reputed teachings as Greene
Whoredom hath Ovid to uphold her throne,
And Aretine of late in Italy,
Whose Cortigiana teacheth bawds their trade.
Gluttony Epicurus doth defend. Dod.-Haz. ') 8 (72).
The passage explains itself, and can refer only to the
Trince". 2 )
Now also appeared Nashe's "Pierce Penniless's Suppli-
cation to the Devil", and in it the following:
"There is no friendship to be had with him that is
resolute to doo or suffer anything rather than to endure
the destinie where to he was borne ; for he will not
father or brother to make himselfe^a
France, Italy, and Spain are full of these
false-hearted Machivillians" ; Shak. Soc. 12 (24).
'This idea of not sparing anyone "to make himself e a
gentleman" is evidently from Gorinius advice in Greene's
"Groates worth" just given. But this is not enough to be
fathered upon Machiavelli; we have heard, "The Art of
murder Machiavel hath penned", now read what instructions
this "Art of Murther" gives.
"0 Italie, the academic of manslaughter, the sporting
place of murther, the apothecaryshop of poyson for
all nations! how many kinds of weapons hast thou
invented for malice! Suppose I love a man's wife,
*) Dodsley compared Orion's lines p. 44.
"That they [dogs] have reason, this I will allege:
They choose those things that are most fit for them,
And shun the contrary all that they may."
with "Dell' Asino d'Oro" VIII
"Questa [hogs] san meglior usar color che sanuo
Senz' altra disciplina per se stesso
Seguir lor bene et evitar lor danno."
These two passages are about as similar as "dogs" and "hogs".
2 ) Hazlitt remarks: "This was the popular idea at that time,
and long afterwards, of Machiavelli, arising from a misconception of
his drift in "II Principe"."
whose husband yet lives, and cannot enjoy her for
liis jealous overlooking 1 , phisicke, or, rather, the art
of Murther, (as it may be used) will lend one medicine
which shall make him away in nature of that disease
lie is most subject too, whether in the space of a
yeare, moneth" - 34. J )
Then for a finale to this demoniac capriccio: -
,,I comprehend .... lastly, under hypochrisie, al
Machiavilisme, .... outwarde gloasing with a man's
enemie, and protesting friendship to him I hate and
meane to harme, 2 ) all under-hand cloaking of bad
actions with common- wealth pretences ; 3 ) and, finally
all Italianate conveyances, as to kill a man and then
mourne for him, 4 ) quasi vero it was not by my
consent, to be a slave to him that hath injur'd me,
and kisse his feete for opportunities of revenge, 5 )
to be severe in punishing offenders, that none might
have the benefite of such means but myselfe, 6 ) to
use men for my purpose and then cast them oif, 7 )
to seeke his destruction that knows my secrets; 8 )
and such as I have employed in any murther or
stratagem, to set them privily together by the eares
to stab each other mutually, 9 ) for fear of bewray-
ing me; or, if that faile, to hire them to humour
one another in such courses as may bring them both
to the gallowes:" 68.
l ] This kind of poisoning- was alluded to in "Leicester's Common-
wealth" but not as Machiavellian.
2 ) Barabas and Selim; Guise and Henry; Mortimer and Kent.
3 ) Barabas, Guise, Mortimer.
4 ) Barabas and Barnardine; Mortimer and Edward.
6 ) Barabas and Ferneze.
6 ) Mortimer and Edward.
7 ) Barabas and Jacomo; Mortimer and Lightborne.
8 ) Barabas and Ithamore ; Guise and Admiral ; Mortimer and Kent.
) Queen-Mother to Henry and Navarre.
As is here done, so might almost all the so-called
"Machiavilisme" in Elizabethan literature be traced to
Marlowe and Gentillet. What more could be expected,
when we find this passage from one of the best Italian
scholars among the literati, - - from ,,The English Aretine",
who certainly knew Machiavelli in the original!
In the next year (1593) Gabriel Harvey wrote in "A
New Letter of Notable Contents" against Nashe for defen-
ding Greene: -
"Aretine was a reprobate ruffian; but even Castillo,
and Machiavel, that were not greatly religious in
conscience, yet were religious in policie" : Gros. I 292.
In "Pierce's Supererogation" Harvey never tires of citing
Machiavelli as a catch-word against Nashe ; *) but he also
gives testimony again to knowledge of the "Principe", 2 ) of
*) "Yet would he [Nashe] seeme as fine a Secretary with his pen
as ever was Bembus in Latin, Macchiavell in Italian or Guevara in
Spanish or Amiot in French." Op. cit. Gros. II, 276. Compare with
this such clumsy wit as, -
"Apulius Asse was a pregnant Lucianist ... A golden Asse :
Machiavel's Asse of the same metall and a deepe Politicaii
like his founder ... He that remembreth the goveruenient
of Balaams Asse . . . Machiavel's Asse . . . little ueedeth any
other Tutor." 248.
"Lucian's Asse . . . Machiavel's Asse, myself since I was dub-
bed an asse by the only Monarch [Nashe] of Asses, have found
savoury herbs amongst nettles". 292.
and such pointless nonsense as:
"It was nothing with him to Temporise in genere, or in
specie, according to Macchiavel's grounde of fortunate suc-
cess in the world; that could so formally, and featly Perso-
nise in individuo. 299.
2 ) "So Caesar Borgia, the sovereiu Type of Macchiavel's Prince,
won the Dukedom of Urbin, in one day." 306.
the "Discorsi": ') he recognizes him as a profound politician, 2 )
and praises his style. But still even he cannot keep from
calumniating- him in the Elizabethan spirit, using the fact
of his banishment most unfairly.
"Ferrara could scarcely brooke Menardus a poysonous
Phisitian .... Florence more hardly tollerate Macchia-
vel, a poysonous politician : Venice most hardly endure
Arretine, a poysonous ribald: had they [Greene and
Nashe] lived in absolute Monarchies they would have
seemed utterly insupportable." 94.
The comparison of Greene and Nashe to Machiavelli
and Aretine is facetious enough ; but here again we see the
influence of Gentillet, who had already denounced the
Florentine as poisonous and as hunted out of his native
city. 3 ) His influence is apparent in another passage: -
"No, Homer not such an authour for Alexander; nor
Xenophon for Scipio : . . . . nor Macchiavell for some
late princes: nor Aretine for some late Curtezans
as his Authour [Greene] for him [Nashe] the sole
authour of renowned victorie." 78.
for, "by some late princes" he can only mean the French,
whose great use of Machiavelli he must have known from
the^father of "Machiavellisme" -- Gentillet.
Harvey, also, brings Plutarch and Machiavelli together
where they were often confounded in the drama:
"Lysander's Fox, Ulysses' Fox . . . might learn of him
[Nashe] . . . For Stephen Gardiner's Fox, or Machia-
vel's Fox are too young cubbes, to compare with
Nashe again, in his "Christs Teares over Jerusalem",
heaps almost incredible ignominy upon Machiavelli:
J ) "I will not enter in Macchiavel's discourses, Jovius Elogyes" etc.
2 ) " - profound Politiques, like Macchiavell, or Perne " 307.
3 ) Ante p. 7.
"The worlde woulde count me the most licentiate
loose strayer under heaven, if I should unrippe but
halfe as much of their ["private Stewes"], veneriall
Machavielisme, as 1 have lookt into. We have not
English words enough to unfold it. Positions and
instructions have they to make their whores a hundred
times more whorish and treacherous, then theyr own
wicked aifects (resigned to the devils disposing) can
make them." - Grosart. IX, 231.
Then follows what simply cannot be quoted - - and
Machiavelli was the author of this! But here, as in his
other defamations, Nashe was merely following the general
lead, and pandering to popular prejudice; for in an epistle
prefixed to this very book the next year, occur passages
which show a good knowledge of the real Machiavelli ! *) He
also repeats one of the "maximes", already well known to
"Henceforth with the forenamed Machiavel, for an
unrefutable principle I will hold it, that he is utterly
undone which seekes by new good turnes to roote
out old grudges." Ibid. 4.
After the mention of Machiavelli in Henry VI (1 and 3),
we may safely conclude, had Shakspere known his works,
he would certainly have used them in portraying Eichard III.
Gloucester is a "dreadful minister of hell" "subtle, false
Glo.) "The secret mischiefs that I set abroach,
I lay unto the grievous charge of others.
But then I sigh, and, with a piece of scripture,
l ) Many courses there be (as Machiavell inspiredly sets downe)
which in themselves seem singular and vertuous, but if a man follow
them they wilbe his utter subversion, others that seeme absurd, odious,
and vitious, that well looked into will breed him most ease." Op. cit. 3.
Cf. Prin. XV.
Tell them, that God bids us do good for evil:
And thus I clothe my naked villainy
With old odd ends stol'n forth of holy writ,
And seem a saint when most I play the devil." 1 ) I, 3 (324 ).
These two subterfuges are Machiavellian ; but we have
already had both in Barabas and in the Guise.
'that fearful commenting
Is leaden servitor to dull delay.
Delay leads impotent and snail-paced beggary;
Then fiery expedition be my wing,
Jove's Mercury, and herald for a king." IV, 3 (51 ).
Machiavelli also lays much emphasis upon rapidity in
decision and action; but this again we have had before in
As Eichmond says, he is: -
"One raised in blood, and one in blood establish'd;
One that made means to come by what he hath,
And slaughter'd those that were the means to help him."
V, 3 (247)-
^His is eminently Machiavellian ; but was also historical,
and well known in the drama. Eichard thinks:
"Conscience is but a word that cowards use."
but Barabas had already scoffed at conscience.
Eichard's leading motive is Gentillet's maxim III, 4
(Prin. VII); but this lay nearer Shakspere in his historical
sources. Again Gentillet II, 1 (Prin. XVIII) III 8, (Prin.
XVII) 9, (Prin. XVII) 10, (Prin. XXIII) 11, (Prin. VII) 12,
(Prin. XVIII) 18, (Prin. XVIII) 19, (Prin. XVIII) 21, (Prin.
XVIII) 23, (Prin. XVII) might be cited as eminently dis-
played in Eichard; but all of these had already been used
by Marlowe : and all Eichard's fierce egoism was in Barabas
') Cf. Ill, 7 "Enter Gloucester aloft, between two Bishops". This
was Buckingham's counsel.
"Ego miliimet sum semper proximus". We can only conclude
Shakspere did not know Machiavelli in the original; but
drew from Marlowe, J ) and from history : 2 ) that Eichard was
considered a Machiavellian "par excellence" by Elizabethans,
was natural enough after what has been seen of the popular
prejudice. 3 )
*) Eichard III is the most Marlowesque of all Shakspere's charac-
ters. "As with the chief personages of Marlowe's plays, so Eichard
in this play rather occupies the imagination by audacity and force,
than insinuates himself through some subtle solvent, some magic and
mystery of art. His character does not grow upon us; from the first
it is complete." Dowden: "Sh. Mind and Art". 182.
2 ) Shakspere even diminishes rather than increases, (as is generally
supposed), the historical and legendary horrors thrown about Eichard
by his predecessors and contemporaries. "Wenn hiernach also thatsach-
lich zwei Holinshed'sche Versionen des Charakters und der Handlungeu
Eichards vorliegen, so hat Shakespeare allerdings die auf More basirte,
also die schwarzere, gewahlt ; iiber diese ist er aber nicht, wie so viel-
fach behauptet wird, hinausgegangen, sondern er hat sie sogar ge-
mildert." Oechelhauser, Jahrb. Ill, 38.
3 ) To some, this discussion of Eichard III will seem very scant:
to such as have really studied the great Florentine unprejudiced it must
appear all that conservatism can say. Eichard III was the school-master
of Machiavelli, not the pupil. Cf. Kuno Fischer "Richard III." (86):
"Eichard konnte ein Vorbild sein fur den "principe" des grosseii
italienischen Staatsmannes ; bei ihm konnte ein Machiavelli in die
Schule gehen! So gut wusste Shakespeare was er zur Charakteristik
Eichards mit diesem Namen an dieser Stelle wollte, aus der man haufig
nichts weiter herausgefunden hat als den Anachronismus zum Beweise
des unwissenden Shakespeare."
Simpson's statement ("Pol. Use of Stage" New Sh. Soc. II, 428) -
"he [Eich. Ill] comes on the stage as the ideal Machiavellian prince"
- certainly needs qualification ; and that of Gervinus (Shak. II, 108)
that Eichard was given "Machiavelli schon in Heinrich VI. zum Muster
und Meister" is not true. Bleibtreu ("Geseh. der Eng. Lit." 51) adopts
Gervinus' view. Schlegel (op. cit. II, 298) hits the nail on the head:
Eich. Ill out - Machiavels the supposed Machiavel. "Er erflillt sein
zuvor gethanes Versprechen, den morderischen Macchiavel in die Schule
3-reene, as has been shown, following Gentillet accused
iavelli of atheism , and Marlowe of having adopted it
from him. In 1594 appeared the third English edition 1 ) of
Piere de la Primaudaye's "Academie Franchise": in the "Epistle
Dedicatorie" we find: -
"Let Florence testifie this [the spread of atheism] to all
posteritie succeeding, where that monster Machiavel
first beganne to budde, who hath now spreadde abroade
his deadly branches of Atheisme over the most coun-
tries in Christendome , insomuch as fewe places but
are so well acquainted with his doctrine, that the
whole course of mens lives almost everywhere, is
nothing else but a continual practice of his precep-
tes." Epis. Ded.
and in the "Epistle to the Beader": -
"In the fore-front of which compaine [of Atheists],
the students of MachiaveVs principles and practicers
of his precepts may worthily be ranged. This bad
fellowe whose works are no lesse accounted of
among his fellowers then were Apollo's Oracles
among the Heathen, nay then the sacred Scrip-
tures are among sound Christians, blush eth not to
belch out these horrible blasphemies against pure
religion, and so against God the Author thereof,
namely, That the religion of the heathen made men stout
and courageous, whereas Christian religion maketh the
professors thereof base-minded, timerous , and fitte to be-
come a pray to every one; that since men fell from, the
*) ,,The French Academie .... By Peter de la Primaudaye ....
newly translated into English by T. B. The Third edition 1594." The
passage occurs first in this third edition (1 ed. 1586, 2 ed. 1589, 3 ed. 1594,
again 16025, 1614, 1618) and in all subsequent. It is significant that
until Greene's pestilent Machiavellian policy, atheism, became notorious,
the translator (Thomas Bediufeld?) did not deem it necessary to inveigh
against it; but he was now caught up in the popular current.
religion of the Heathen, they became so corrupt that they
would beleeve neither God nor the Devill: that Moses w
possessed the land of Judea , as the Gothes did by strong
hand usurjte part of the Roman Empire. These and
such like positions are spued out by this hel-hound
in trueth he would have all religion to be of like
accompt with his disciples, except it be so far forth
as the pretence and shewe of religion may serve to
set forward and effect their wicked pollicies. And
for this cause hee setleth downe this rule for every
Prince and Magistrate to frame his religion by, name-
ly , that he should pretend to be very religious and de-
vout , although it bee but in hypochrisie. And to this
he addeth a second precept no less impious that a
Prince should with toothe and nail maintains false myracles
and untrueths in religion, so long as his people may there-
by be kept in greater obedience" 1 )
Then after inveighing violently against Greene he con-
"The voice of a meere Atheist, and so afterwards he
pronounced of himselfe when he was checked in con-
science by the mightie hand of God. And yet this
fellowe in his life time and in the middest of his
greatest ruffe, had the Presse at commandement to
publish his lascivious Pamphlets -
He then denounces "Stage-plays and Theatres" and ends: -
"Wherefore my humble suit is to all such as may
by vertue of their authoritie stay the violent course
of Atheisme dayly spread abroad by these pernicious,
that they would lay to their helping hand for the
speedy redresse thereof." Epis. to Kead.
From this we see atheism had become wide spread two
*) It is almost needless to say that these are from Gentillet II,
1 and 2 verbatim: this whole attack presumes no more knowledge of
Machiavelli, than had been obtained from Gentillet's maxims in the
years after Greene's death, that it was now universally at-
tributed to Machiavellian studies, and that as such it was
feared the dramatists and pamphleteers were promulgating it.
In this year also appeared the second edition of Nashe's
"Pierce Penniless". In the letter to the publisher occurred
a significant passage :
"Had you not beene so forward in the republishing
of it, you shold have had certayne epistles to orators
and poets, to insert to the latter end; as, namely,
to the ghost of Machevill .... to the ghost of Robert
Greene, telling him what a coyle there is with pam-
phleting on him after his death. They were prepared
for Pierce Pennilesse first setting forthe, had not the
feare of infection detained me with my lord in the
country." Sh. Soc. 12 (XIV).
This shows that immediately after Greene's death he
was associated with Machiavelli. In another pamphlet Nashe
refers again to Machiavellian deceit, *) and accuses the devil
of having learned a much-used tricke from the Florentine.
"This Machevillian tricks hath hee [the devil] in him
worth tiie noting, that those whom he dare not uni-
ted or together encounter, disjoined and divided, he
will one by one assaile in their sleepe." "Terrors of
Night" Gros. Ill, 223.
In Shakespere's Richard II, probably of this year, is to
"And that's the wavering 1 commons: for their love
Lies in their purses, and whoso empties them.
By so much fills their hearts with deadly hate."
II, 2 (129 ).
This thought is in the "Principe"; but Shakspere pro-
bably observed it for himself. 2 )
*) "You that are Machiavelian vaine fooles, and think it no wit
or pollicie but to vowe and protest what you never meane" "Ter-
rors of the Night". Gros. Ill, 279.
2 ) Cf. Priii. III. Burghley said: "Plebis anglicanae ingenium ad
In the next year (1595) Wplliam] C[lerke] repeated
almost exactly what the translator of Primaudaye said, and
accused Machiavelli of being the instrument of Sathan. *)
Now appeared the first English translation -) of the "Storia
Fiorentina" by Thomas Bedingfield ; probably the same who
seditiones praeceps si pensitationibus extra ordinem opprimantur."
( -f. Simpson New Sh. Soc. II, 409.
J ) "Keligion's speech: And although I poore Religion am not
so good a states man, that willingly I intermeddle with matters of the
common wealth, yet I must say thus much in the true defense of my
selfe, that since profane Machivell hath obtained so much credit
amongst the greatest states men of all Europe, Atheisme hath per-
swaded the world to my death, and tolde Princes that there was no
religion. Can any counsell be more pernicious to the common wealth?
more dangerous to a Country? more fatall to a Prince? then onely to
relie in causes of greatest importance upon his owne wisdome ? to seem
to have that religion in shew, which he never meaneth to embrace
in trueth ? to prefer Heathens before me ? to ascribe felicitie to fortune,
and not to vertue and true religion? And these with divers others of
like impuritie hath that profane Atheist broached into the world, which
was no sooner drunke by the states of Europe, but some of their
kingdomes have come to ruirte ... I dare say thus much, that religious
Princes, while confidently in a good cause , they have fullie relied upon
God's assistance, they have notablie triumphed over all enemis : thus in
the old Testament Abraham, Moses, Josua, Gedeon . . . all
triumphed over multitudes of their enemies, because I (howsoever con-
temned by prophane Machivel) was the sole conductor of all their ar-
mies: . . . But I am loath to rake in the dead cinders of polluted
Machivell, whom though Satan made an instrument to disgrace me,
and with his dregges dangerouslie poysoned the best states, yet shall
ray trueth like the sun from under a cloude shine clearely in the days
of Elizabeth." "England to her three Daughters." Grosart 106.
-) "The Florentine Historic . . . Translated into English by T(homas)
B(ediugfield) Esquire. London 1595." The translator says it was made
in 1588; it was dedicated to Hatton, and made no aspersions on Ma-
chiavelli, but praised him highly. Vide Sinker: "Cat." 297.
In Shakspere's "King John" Pandolf says to Lewis :
"A sceptre, suatch'd with an unruly hand,
Must be as boisterously maintained as gained;
And he that stands upon a slippery place,
Makes nice of no vile hold to stay him up:
That John may stand, then Arthur needs must fall ;
So be it then, for it cannot be but so." Ill, 4 (135).
This sounds very Machiavellian in the mouth of the
cardinal of Milan, but history speaks here again.
The year (1596) following, Nashe closed his long list
of Machiavel-citations by using the word, coined from the
Florentine's name, as synonymous for deception.
"His [Harvey's] malicious defamation of Doctour Feme:
when after that he hath polluted him with all the
scandal he could, hee saies, The clergie never wanted
excellent fortune Wrights, and he was one of the
chiefest : as though the church of England were upheld
and Atlassed by corruption, Machiavelisme , aposta-
Lodge now showed himself quite conversant with
Machiavelli's writings : with the Prince, 3 ) with the "Dis-
J ) "Sedition . . . This is a pestilent fiend, and the more secret
hee lurketh, the more harme he worketh, the whole scope of his dis-
course is the cause of much inconvenience, for there through on everie
side groweth hate, and of hate saith Machiavell come divisions,
and of divisions sects and of sects ruin." Wits Mis. 67 as below. Cf.
- and though the course of intelligence according to Machiavell
be necessary in an estate, and worthy the execution of a considerate
and good man (for his countries sake) yet the Sparta being laid on
his shoulders that hath no honestie, maketh that estate odious, which
otherwise would be honest." Wits M iserie, and the World's Madnesse:
Discoursing the Devils Incarnate. Gosse II, 87.
Meyer, Machiavelli. 6
corsi", 1 ) "The Art of War" 2 ) and even "Belphegor"; 3 ) but
nevertheless he could not keep from falling into the cant use.
"Among all other the counsellors of this young and
untowarde heire [Arsadachus] .... there lived a great
Prince in the court of Protoiimchm, who delighted
rather to flatter then counsell, to feede corruptions
then purge them, who had Machevils prince in his
bosome to give instance." - A Margarite of America
Gosse I, 22.
The next Harpie of this breed is Scandale and
Detraction. This is a right malcontent Devill, You
shall alwaies find him his hat without a band, his
hose ungartered, .... he hath read over the coniu-
ration of Machiavel. In beliefe he is an Atheist ....
hating his countrie .... not for default either in
governement, or pollicy, but of meere innated and
corrupt villainie; and vaine desire of Innovation."
Wits Mis. ibid. 17.
After Ward's careful analysis of the relation of Shylock
to Barabas, little need be said of the direct outgrowth of
the former from the latter. Shakspere s Jew in the" Merchant
of Venice" also suffers what Barabas had "learned in
"Still have I borne it [Antonio's rating] with a patient shrug,
For sufferance is the badge of all our tribe.
You call me misbeliever, cut-throat dog,
And spit upon my Jewish gaberdine,
And all for use of that which is my own." I, 3 (110).
.*) "111 would they observe that golden sentence of Cornelius
Tacitus registered by Machiavell, who saith, That men ought to honor
things past, and obey the present, desiring and wishing for good Princes,
and howsoever they prove to endure them." Ibid. 18. Discorsi III, 6.
2 ) "If (according to Machiavel's doctrine) he [Ambition] have a
great State opposed against him." - Ibid. 8.
3 ) The "incarnate devil" of drunkenness is called "Beelphogor".
Lancelot saj r s:
"Certainly the Jew is the very devil incarnal."
but lie is more humane than Barabas. 1 )
He is also as eager for revenge: -- "if it will feed
nothing else it will feed my revenge" and uses religious
"An oath, an oath, I have an oath in heaven:
Shall I lay perjury upon my soul?
No, not for Venice." 2 ) IV, 1 (228).
But he neither murders by underhand means, nor dissem-
bles, nor poisons as Barabas does; in short, he is much
less even of an Elizabethan Machiavellian. 3 ) To the audience,
perhaps, his most Florentine trait was his great wealth
and covetousness, which idea had been introduced by
In the next year (1597) 4 ) one of the most popular
poets of the day, William Warner, shows that he" had become
acquainted with Gentillet, and that he knew reference to
*) Ithamore says he acts under the devil. Ante p. 41.
2 ) Cf. also the famous: "The devil can cite scripture for his
3 ) Cf. Elze "Zum Kaufm. von Ven." Jahrb. VI, 185. "Die Rohheit
dieses sich in Blut walzenden und unmogliche Greuel gebarenden
Macchiavellismus [in Barabas] hat Sh. gliicklicherweise hier wie ander-
warts beseitigt. Wie sehr derselbe jedoch nach dem Geschmack des
englischen Volkes war, beweist der Umstand, dass nach Sh. Chapman
mit Beifall dazu zuriickkehren konnte ; seine Tragedy of Alphonsus z. B.
lasst darin wie auch hinsichtlich des Styls erkennen, dass ihr nicht
Sh. soudern Marlowe als Vorbild gedient hat."
4 ) It is significant that the editions of ,,Albions England" of 1589
(6 bks.) and 1592 (8 bks.) display no reference to Macchiavelli ; the
edition 1597 (12 bks.) first contains the passages cited and they are in
all subsequent editions 1602 (13 bks.) and 1612 (15 bks.) with no addi-
Macliiavelli would be delectable to his audience. After
calling the counsellor of the Queen - Mother and King
"a politition" -
"A Germaine (to whose lore),
Have Machivilian French-events
Since sorted ever-more"
Albion's Eng. X, 57 (Chalmers 624).
the author proceeds to paraphrase an entire chapter of
the ,,Principe'V) and concludes: -
"When this, and worse than thus, this worse than Machivel had said,
With that conventicle's applause so working was not staid:
For hence, if accidents we shaft observe, may be collected
The civill warres and butcheries in France to have affected."
*) "He told his travels, and instates his observations: how,
Besides the only Turke, he none a monarch did allow:
Who suffreth none by might, by wealth or blood, to overtop:
Himself gives all preferments, and whom listeth him doth lop.
His bauds of Janizaries, who are form'd and nourisht still
From Childhood his own creatures, hold all at his own will.
He out of these his captaines, and his bassies doth elect;
They do deserve their founder's trust, his only weal affect
The rather, for their dignities, and all that all possesse
Determine at his will, behooves therefore not to transgresse.
Save his religion, none is usde, unless in conquests late,
And that of policie, thereby to adde unto his state,
Nor even these permits he of religion to debate.
Nor walled townes, nor fortresses, his empier doth digest ;
Except upon the frontiers, for securing of the rest.
His subjects thus, theirs, and the whole, at his devotion needs
No imposts, taxes or the like, whence tumult often breeds.
Discourst of his experience thus, he then descends to it
Whereby of Monarchia might himselfe the French king fit.
"Whereas" (quoth he) French policie consists of three estates,
The princes, nobles, commons, and each one of th'other wates
tis shows plainly enough his knowledge was from
French *) sources. Later on this characteristic passage
over-ronne The free Italian states .... as Naples, Millaine
.... to rich-built Genoa goe:
But farre from drifting- Florence keep, least Machiavels yee groe."
XII, 75 (648).
Breton again displays the ignorant prejudice of the
age in his "Wits Trenchmour".
"Indeed sir quoth the Schollar, hee that doth for
other, for I thanke you, tell he say to himselfe
I beshrew you, hee may have more kinde wit, then
commodious understanding: but by your leave, among
For hearts and helps, and oft the king is bridled of those three,
Himselfe therefore, such lets remov'd, sole monarch thus might bee.
Of ancient peere, of valiant men, great lords, and wisenaen all,
By forced warre, or fraudfull peace, to temporize the fall :
Whereto religion's quarrel then presented meane not small.
Meanwhile, untill of them by turnes weare riddance, did behove
To worke them mal-contents, the king to labor vulgar love.
Immediately, even from himselfe, no whit at their request,
To passe preferments, not to them, but els as likes him best:
And but of peeces ruinous the great ones to possesse :
And when his creatures shall grow to more those great to lesse,
To quarrel then those nobles, when in them great hearts would lurk,
That for the souldier, or the sword of justice should make work.
So to provide that of the states be no convention nam'd,
Religion not disputed of: strong townes, which oft have tam'd
The French kings, be dismantled : And when things as thus be fram'd,
His Majestie" (quoth he) "shall hit the marke whereat he airn'd !"
Op. cit. 624.
This is simply "Principe" IV versified.
J ) He also accuses Catherine de Medicis of atheism as Gentillet
,,And Katherine de Medicis whose atheisme wrought much woe."
X, 58 (627).
many that have been studients in this course of
instruction, I finde one notable vile creature, whose
philosophy I may rather call mortall than morrall,
his notes are so full of poyson, to the spirit of all
good disposition: and this good old Gentleman his
name was Machavile. Oh quoth the Angler, a ven-
geance of all villaines, I think there was never such
another: he hath left such devillish lessons to the
worlde, that I thinke he will hardlie come at heaven.
I pray you sir, quoth the Angler, J ) let me intreate
you to recite some of them." Grosart II, 12.
Then the scholar quotes: -
"That it was good for a man of conscience to keep
the bands of his oath: and yet when pollicie may
purchase a good purse, 2 ) an oath hath been ventured
for a lesse matter then a million" .... "Fathers in
the governement should be feared of theyr Chil-
dren" .... "That it is good for Maisters to be boun-
tifull to their servants, were it not that Keepers will
say, that fatte hounds will hunt but lazilie." ....
"That he that will not curtsie to a Milstone, make
musick to an Owle, daunce Trenchmour with an Ape r
and fall to wonder at a Wethercocke, may hope after
nuts, and pick on shells for his comfort."
The angler refutes each in turn and continues:
,,Tush man quoth he, are these of his notes? Not
in these wordes, but to this effect aunswered the
The scholar then tells of "certaine notes of a scholler of
his" [Machiavelli's] in which such villainy is set forth as "to
flnde out a prodigall heire to use him like a younger brother"; 8 )
*) This is good: the angler calls Machiavelli's doctrines "most
devillish" and then naively asks what they are!
2 ) Here we see influence of Barabas.
8 ) This must go back to Greene's "Groatsworth".
and "if there were ever a lawyer of a large conscience,
what a bribe might doo for a conveiance." ] )
The angler calls this "scholler of his", "a pretty scholler
at the devill's [Machiavelli's] alphabet". Thus every villainy
under the sun was supposed to come from the Florentine.
Bacon's essays of this year show that he was aa careful
student' 2 ) of Machiavelli : he stands forth among the Eliza-
bethans as the only man who really knew the Florentine;
and he never falls into the cant use of popular prejudice.
One example of Bacon's citation will suffice:
"Of Goodnesse and Goodnesse of Nature: The Italians
have an ungracious proverb: Tanto buon die val niente:
So good that he is good for nothing. And one of the
Doctors of Italy, Nicholas Macciavel, had the confidence
to put in writing, almost in plaine Termes: That the
Christian Faith had given up good Men, in j)rey to those,
that are Tyrannical, and unjust. Which he spake, because
indeed there was never Law, or Sect, or Opinion, did
so much magnifie Goodnesse, as the Christian Eeligion
doth." 3 ) Essays ed. Wright 48.
In this year appeared a Latin drama "Machiavellus"
by D. Wiburne ; 4 ) but the Florentine's name is merely used
to characterize an intriguing servant ; knowledge of Machia-
velli there is none in the play.
In Shakspere's "Henry IV" Brandl would see in one
place the influence of Machiavelli.
"Machiavelli warnt seinen Emporkommling vor iiber-
massiger Grausamkeit im Gebrauche der gewonnenen
*) Even the proverbial simony of lawyers imputed to Machiavelli!
2 ) Cf. Kuno Fischer "Franz Baco" 267.
3 ) Cf. "Discorsi" II, 2, also "Of Seditions" -- p. 55 Discorsi
III, 27. "Of True Greatnesse 118 and Prin. 13. "Of Counsel!' 5
82 and Prin. 22. "Of Vicissitude" 232 and Discorsi II, 5 etc. etc.
4 ) Machiavellus: a Latin drama hy D. Wihurne acted at Cam-
bridge in 1597. There is a copy of it in MS. Douce 234, transcribed in
the year 1600." Haz. Manual 146.
Macht. Wir werden spater bei Heinrich IV. selien,
wie dieser Usurpator den Wink befolgt und durcli
eine passende Milde in der That die Herrschaft
behalt. Richard III vergisst in diesem Punkte seine
gewohute Klugheit." Shak. 70.
One is inclined to ask, did Shakspere observe nothing
of the philosophy of history for himself? a )
In the next year (1598) "The Mirrour of Policie"
referred to Machiavelli as authority on the government
of Venice. 2 ) Edward Guilpin made the usual cant citation
"For when great Foelix, passing through the street,
Vayleth his cap to each one he doth meet
Who would not think him perfect curtesie V
Or the honey-suckle of humilitie?
The devill he is as soone: he is the devil
Brightly accoustred to hemist his evil.
Taught him this mumming trick, with curtesie
T'entrench himselfe in popularitie."
"Skialetheia": G-rosart 36.
a ) If such hair-splitting Quellenforschunq is to be applied to
Shakspere (or other dramatists as well), a thousand and one passages
might be traced to Machiavelli or to almost any writer on political
history, e. g. Sh. "Ant. and Cleop." Ill, 1.
Vent.} "Who does i'the wars more than his captain can,
Becomes his captain's captain."
Machiavelli warns a prince, that if an auxiliary general conquer for
you, you are his prisoner (Prin. XIII) but to claim this as Shakspere's
source would be absurd.
2 ) "Scarce is the like Comniouweale to be found by report of
Sliakspere again made direct mention of Machiavelli,
in "The Merry Wives" :
Host) "Peace, I say! hear mine host of the Garter.
Am I politic ? Am I subtle ? Am I a Machiavel ? Shall
I lose my doctor? no: he gives me the potions and
the motions. Shall I lose my parson? my priest?
my Sir Hugh ? no : .... Boys of art, I have deceived
yon both." Ill, 1 (102).
Here, of course, the use is that of a mere catchword,
of which the play is full ; *) but it was a most facetious
flash of genial wit to have mine host of the Garter call
himself by the Florentine's name. *)
Ben Jonspn now began his citations of Machiavelli, in
"The Case is Altered".
Jun.) "Do you hear, sweet soul, sweet Radamant,
sweet Machavel? one word, Melpomene, are you at
leisure?" IV, 4 (Gifford-Cunningham II, 542).
Juniper says this when calling out Eachel for Onion.
This is the first instance of a woman being called a
Machiavel; but he calls her Ehadamant also, and is very
careless of the meanings of his strange expressions. As
Gifford says "Juniper was .... exceedingly popular" (II, 554.) :
l ] So 1, 1 "Mephostophilus, Sackerson" ; I, 3 "bully Hercules, Caesar,
Hector, Sir Pandarus, Lucifer, II, 1 Sir Acteon"; II, 3 "Aesculapius.
Galen"; and "Hibbocrates, Doctor Faustuses, Goliath" etc.
It was probably a reminiscence of Marlowe : in later plays Machia-
velli, Mephistophilus and Faustus often occur as mere catch-words to-
2 ) "Der schlaue Wirth, ein Grossthuer voll Spott und Streichen,
der sich selbst fiir einen grossen Politiker und Machiavell halt, den der
Kitzel sticht jeden zu foppen, vexirt den pedantischen Waliser Evans ;
r mufs denselben Verdruss haben wie Falstaif, dafs die Einfaltigeu,
die nicht einmal Eng-lisch sprechen konnen, sich gegen ihn verbinden
und den Durchtriebenen urn seine Pferde prellen." Gervinus: Shak.
this calling Eachel a ''Machavel" ') is not the least merry
of his meaningless phrases. 2 )
Marston took occasion to cite Macliiavelli in the popular
manner, :i ) in his second satire : of a puritan hypocrite he
" who thinks that this good man
Is a vile, sober, damned politician?
J ) If dates are to be considered, this was an anachronism on the
part of the careful Ben ; since the comedy plays in Italy during- Emperor
Sigismund's (f 1437) reign.
2 ) To call a subtle woman a Machiavel became quite a "fad".
Of. Congreve: "The Double Dealer" II, 6 (Hunt. 181).
M e 1 1 e f o n t (believing- himself outwitted by Lady Touch-
wood). "So then, spite of my care and my foresight, I am
caught, caught in my security. Yet this was but a shallow
artifice, unworthy my Machiavelian aunt."
also Farquhar: "The Constant Couple" II 4 (ibid. 522):
Lady Lure well) "Welcome, my dear sir Harry, I see
you got my directions.
Sir H.) Directions! in the most charming manner, thou
dear Machiavel of intrigue."
also: Colman and Garrick, "The Clandestine Marriage" V, 2 (Mod.
Brit. Dram. IV, 506):
Miss Sterling (to Mrs. Heidelberg of sly little Fanny).
"I had no desire to sleep, and would not undress myself know-
ing that my Machiavel sister would not rest 'till she had
broke my heart."
also: Murphy.: "The Upholsterer" I, 3 (444)
Quidnunc (after his failure to his daughter Harriet).
"Poh, poh. I tell you I know what I am about you shall
have my books and pamphlets, and all the manifestoes of the
powers of war.
Har.) And make me a politician, sir!
Quid.) It would be the pride of my heart to find I had
got a politician in petticoats a female Machiavel! 'S bodi-
kins, you might then know as much as most people they talk
of in coffee-houses."
3 ) As will be seen, Marston obtained later a careful knowledge of
Machiavelli, and held a very high opinion of him.
is not this a courteous-minded man?
No, foole, no; a damn'd Machiavelian ;
Holds candle to the devil for a while,
That he the better may the world beguile,
That's fed with shows." Marston ed. Bullen III, 271
Anthony Munday, who had been in Italy, produced
about this time his "Downfall of Eobert Earl of Huntington":
one passage in which, though it may possibly be a remin-
iscence of Plutarch's Lysander, savors of the "Principe".
Leicester, tearing off John's usurped royalty: -
"Come off, this crown: this sceptre off!
This crown, this sceptre are King Richard's right;
Bear thou them, Richmond, thou art his true knight.
You would not send his ransom, gentle John;
He's come to fetch it now. Come, wily fox,
Now you are stripp'd out of the lion's case,
What, dare you look the lion in the face?"
IV, 1 (Dodsley VIII, 178).
However this may be, direct reference was made to
Machiavelli in another play of this year; viz. "Mucedorus".
The hero will disguise himself to rescue Amadine, and seeks
counsel of Anselmo.
Ans.) "That action craves no counsel,
Since what you rightly are, will more command,
Than best usurped shape.
Muc.) Thou still art opposite in disposition;
A more obscure servile habiliment
Beseems this enterprize.
Aus.) Then like a Florentine or mountebank!
Muc.) 'Tis much too tedious: I dislike thy judgement,
My mind is grafted on an humbler stock."
Dodsley VII, 207.
This is the first reference in the drama, supposing
Machiavelli so well known as that only his native city need
be mentioned; but the same recurs often enough later on.
Shakspere's portrait of Richard III had been accepted
as that of a Machiavel: in an hexameter poem "The Pre-
servation of Henry VII" Richard is denounced as such : -
"he spared nobody, whose life
Might dominire for a king, whose life might work him a mischiefe.
He was a vile Machavile, and still took time at avauntage:
To work such stratagems his lew'd mind gave him a courage." ')
"But now, now murtherus horror,
And Machavile stratagems I recorde, of a lewde malefactor.
That did usurp as king, that killed his own very brethren,
Murdered his nephues wife, and mony peeres, on a sudden.
Trewly my minde doth abhorre that I should here make the recitall,
What Machavile policies, what shifts, what crafty devices,
What tyranus stratagems he devis'd to crucifie princes." Ibid. 58.
but this is little more than the cant use. 2 )
Nashe in this year defending his master, Aretine, took
occasion again to traduce Machiavelli. 3 ) How familiar he
had become to play-goers, may be seen by looking at "Lust's
Dominion" , a palpable imitation of Marlowe and Shakspere.
Eleazar is an amalgamation of Barabas and Aaron, having
1 ) Collier: "Illustrations of Old English Literature" II, 54. It is
to be hoped these are genuine, though they may be falsifications.
2 ) Compare this of Sir Pierce of Exton.
This trecherus bludy Duke did bring eight tal men in harnesse,
Each man a bill in his hand, like thieves, to murder his Highnesse:
Who with a bill that he got by force, did manfuly withstand.
Those Machavile hipochrites (for he kild foure with his owne hand)''
3 ) ,,of that treatise de tribus impostoribus mundi which was
never contrived without a generall counsell of devils, I am verily per-
swaded it was none of his [Aretine's] . . . Certainly I have heard that
one of MachiveVs followers and desciples was the author of that
booke," "The Unfortunate Traveller" ed. Gosse 107.
the villainy of the one, and the lust of the other: he is
called "the black prince of Devils" ; dying, he exclaims :
"Devils, come claim your right, and when I am
Confin'd within your kingdom, then shall I
Outact you all in perfect villainy." V, 6 (Dods. XIV, 191).
Where he had conned his super- Satanic devilry, may
be seen in this: -
Zarack and Balthazar, come hither, see,
Survey my library. I study, ha,
Whilst you two sleep: marry 'tis villainy.
Here's a good book, Zarack, behold it well,
It's deeply written, for 'twas made in hell;
Now, Balthazar, a better book for thee;
But for myself this, this the best of all ;
And therefore do I claim it every day,
For fear the readers steal the art away." J ) V, 6 (188).
This book must be the Principe", as Ward suggests.
Eleazar may have studied Machiavelli, but the anonymous
author certainly did not; for there is not one passage in
this lascivious trash which shows any influence whatever. 2 )
We see__ that^-Mc.l>iavAlli wag nmy-flnn^ered-^- much
greater villain than thp. pprsornfip.fl.tirm nf a]] pyjl: we need
not wonder, when it is stated later on, that Nicholas
Machiavel gave the"^devil his sobriquet of "Old Nick"
Ben Jonson again made a popular citation of Machia-
velli this year in his "Every Man out of his Humour". In
the chorus between acts II and III, Cordatus says to Mitis,
*) In Aphra Behn's rifacimento "Abdalazar" this is omitted;
the point being no longer significant.
3 ) Eleazar goes through the usual stage villainy: he uses poison
ill, 6. 131) and religious hypocrisy.
"sin shines clear,
When her black face religion's mask doth wear." II, 2 (121).
He also cuts off all his accomplices in crime (Crab, Cole, Queen-
Mother, Cardinal etc.), but cites no maxims.
that to judge all courtiers by Fastidious Brisk, or all wives
by Deliro's wife: -
- "were to affirm that a man writing of Nero should
mean all emperors; or speaking of Machiavel, com-
prehend all statesmen : or in our Sordido, all farmers ;
and so the rest," (Giff.-Cuning. 96.)
In 1600 Hakluyt makes the cant use of Machiavelli 1 )
en passant : and Breton links Achitophel and the Florentine
together, resuscitating Gentillet's old thought, that Machia-
velli's principles if followed would lead to ruin.
"Hee that is ...
And loves Achitophell for wickeclnesse
He that of Machavile doth take instruction
To manage all the matters of his thought;
And treades the way but to his owne destruction,
Till late Repentance be too dearly bought,
Shall finde it true, that hath beene often taught,
As good be Idle as to goe to schoole,
To come away with nothing but the Foole."
"Pasquils Passion" Gros. I, 25.
About this time appeared "Grim, the Collier of Croy-
don". As Pegge *) says , "the story of this play is taken
in part from Machiavelli's Belphegor". The dramatist may
have had the original before him, but more likely Eiche's
In "Patient Grissel" of this year occurs a thought to
*) a Hee [the King of Spain] may bee perswaded, that to leave no
other succour or safetie to his nakednesse, but the olde stale practice
of ... hyring and suborning some Machavellian underhande by secret
conveyance, to stop the course of our proceedings ... is but a poore,
weake, and uncertaine stay to upholde his estate by." Ill, 685.
2 ) Apud Dodsley VIII, 391. Cf. also Ward II, 138.
be found in the "Principe" *) ; but also in almost every poet
since Homer's day.
Gwalter) "But teach your jocund spirits to ply the chase;
For hunting- is a sport for emperors."
Shak. Soc. 1841 p. 3.
In the next year (1601) Henslowe mentioned in his
diary a drama by Day and Haughton, "Friar Rush and the
Proud Woman of Anthwerp". Since there is no "proud
woman" in the Rush legend, but in Machiavelli's Belphegor,
which was often confounded 2 ) with the story of the popu-
lar necromancer, it may be assumed that this play was a
mixture of the two. As Herford says:
"It is obvious that this plot [of Belphegor] which
can hardly have been unknown to the scholarly and
cultured Day, would give point to the title of this
last play which on the other hypothesis it does not
possess." "Lit. Rel. of Eng. and Ger." 309.
Marston in his "Antonio and Mellida" cited Machiavelli,
and was the first dramatist to speak a good word for him.
Antonio is diguised as a fool; besought to put off his
masquerade he exclaims:
"Why, by the genius of that Florentine,
Deepe, deepe observing, sound brain'd Macheveil,
He is not wise that strives not to seem fool
When will the Duke holde feed Intelligence,
Keepe warie observation in large pay,
To dogge a fooles act." 8 )
II. Ant. and. Mell. IV, 1; Halliwell 117.
*) Cf. Prin. XIV: Arte d. Gu. V (351) Disc. Ill, 39 (431).
2 ) Herford: 308-318.
:5 ) Cf. Piero) "He that's a villain, or but meanly soul'd,
Must still converse and cling to routs of fools,
That cannot search the leaks of his defects."
This idea originates in the drama with Marston. and is the lea-
ding thought in "The Malcontent".
Piero, in part II, with his awful heaps of villainy and
murder, is as typical an Elizabethan Machiavel as Barabas.
He uses Strotzo to murder Feliche, and then treacherously
"Why, thus should statesmen doe,
/That cleave through knots of craggy policies,
Use men like wedges, one strike out another,
Till by degrees the tough and knarly trimke
Be riv'd in sunder." IV, 3 (123). ')
This policy we have had again and again. Inconti-
nently upon this follows a thought perverted from the
Ant.) "Pish! most things that morally adhere to souls,
Wholly exist in drunk opinion." 2 )
Marston seems to have known Machiavelli's writings
well, and to have understood them as will be apparent in
"Sophonisba". In this same play, part I, Piero, having con-
quered Genoa from Andrugio, immediately seeks to destroy
him and all his kinsmen, 3 )
"Which I'll pursue with such a burning chase,
Till I have dried up all Andrugio's blood." I, 1.
When seeking Antonio's death, he first has Strotzo de-
fame him 4 ) by accusing him of having murdered his own
father. This is really Machiavellian; but he exclaims: -
"I am great in blood,
Unequall'd in revenge." 5 I, 1.
This is clearly the influence of the Barabas-Aaron-
a ) Vide ante. Span. Trag. p. 26. As Aronstein (Eng. Studien
XX, 35) says "Fur den zweiten Theil ist die Spanish Tragedy des
T. Kyd das wichtigste Vorbild gewesen".
2 ) Cf. Prin. XVIII.
3 ) This method is advocated in Prin. VIII. Cf. Disc. Ill, 40 (434).
4 ) Cf. Prin. VII, also Gent. Ill, 2.
5 ) He defames his own daughter for revenge.
lleazar type, also seen in his dissembling, *) poisoning, and
general villainy, 2 ) guided by a devil. 8 ) Again Marlowe
and Machiavelli are mixed up:
"Where only honest deeds to kings are free,
It is no empire, but a beggary." II, 1.
There can be no doubt that Marston used the "Prin-
cipe" for this drama; but Marlowe's influence was even
stronger than Machiavelli's.
In the next year (1602) was published the translation 4 )
of Gentillet made by Patericke in 1577: it called forth
a host of citations. William Bas continued the cant use. 5 )
Breton did the same, 6 ) and warned against Machiavel's in-
"Flie Machivile his vile instructions,
Which are but poysons to a princely minde:
*) "And didst thou ever see a Judas kiss
With a more covert touch of fleering hate?" Pt. II. I, 1.
2 ) "Poison the father [Andrugio], butcher the son [Antonio] and
marry the mother [Maria] ha!" Ibid. I, 1.
3 ) Strotzo) "I would have told you, if the incubus
That rides your bosom would have patience".
Ibid. I, 1.
4 ) Ante p. 15.
& ) "The merchant, or the Machivilian,
The Yeoman, tradesman, clowne, or any one,
What ere he be, we turne our backs to none."
"Sword and Buckler or The Servingman's Defense."
Collier, Illus. II, 13.
tf ) "It [ingratitude] bringeth foorth such shamefull Evill,
Out of the shamelesse wicked minde;
As by suggestion of the Divell,
Makes Nature goe against hir kinde;
When Men that should bee Vertue's friends,
Become but Machavilian fiends."
Unthankfulnesse. Gros. I, 4.
Meyer, Machiavelli. 7
And noted well, are but destructions,
That doe the world with wicked humors blinde:
And do the soule to hellish service binde.
Where nothing for gaine must be forbidden,
While divels in the shape of men are hidden."
Mother's Blessing. Gros. I, 8.
Chettle took occasion to traduce Machiavelli veiy vio-
lently in his "Hoffman". Ferdinand, having adopted Hoff-
man (as Otho in disguise) and disinherited his son the fool
Jer.) "They say I am a fool, Stilt; but follow me; I'll seek out
my notes of Machiavell: they say he is an odd politician.
Stilt) Ay, faith, he's so odd that he hath driven even honesty from
all men's hearts." II, 2 (Lennard 22).
The silly Jerome's J ) remark is intended, of course, for
parody; but Stilt's answer is in earnest, and shows Ma-
chiavelli was thought to have driven all honesty from the
world. Hoffman is a villain of deepest dye: he emplo} T s
Lorick in murder and then kills him; he also uses poison,
dissimulation, awful revenge etc., etc. in the Elizabethan
Machiavellian way, but cites no maxims.
In another play of this year proverbial use is made
of the perjury accusation, and there is added to "Machive-
lisme" an idea, first introduced into the drama by Marlowe.
Thus in Dekker and Marston's Satiromastix.
Horace has sworn not to traduce Tucca any more : -
Tucca) "I know now th'ast a number of these Quiddits to binde men
to th' peace : 'tis thy fashion to flurt Inke in everie man's face :
and then to craule into his bosome, and danme thyself to
wip't off again: yet to give out abroad, that he was glad to
come to composition with me : I know Monsieur Machiavell
'tis one a thy rules ; My long-heel'd Troglodite, I could make
thine ears burne now, by dropping into them, all those hot
oathes, to which, thy selfe gav'st voluntarie fire, (when thou
wast the man in the Moone) that thou would'st never squib
Chettle, no doubt, had Greene's Ateukiu in mind.
any new Salt-peter Jestes against honest Tucca, nore
those Maligo- tasters , his Poetasters: I could Cinocephalus,
but I will not, yet thou knowest thou hast broke those
oathes in print, my excellent infernal.
Tucca) Nay I smell what breath is to come from thee, thy answer
is, that there's no faith to be helde with Heretickes and
Infidels, and therefore thou swear'st anie thing'" : ed. Pear-
son I, 235.
This maxim, "there's no faith to be held with Here-
tickes", is taken almost word for word from "The Jew of
Malta". ') Since Dekker 2 ) never makes mention of Machia-
velli in his individual dramas and Marston does, this ci-
tation may be imputed to the latter. This was the year
of two lost plays by Chettle and Hey wood: "The London
Florentine" 3 ) in two parts. "The Florentine" can refer
only to Machiavelli; but as to the nature of the play it
would be waste time to conjecture.
In 1603 John Davies also presumed Machiavelli so well
known, that he needed to be referred to only as the Flo-
rentine, just as was done in Mucedorus.
"The Aire we breath doth beare an Ore herein,
And being subtil moves the simple Minde;
l ] Ante p. 35.
2 ) He seems to have made no use of Machiavelli. Langbaine says :
"The beginning of "If it be not good the devil is in it" seems to be writ
in imitation of Matchivel's novel of Belphegor: where Pluto summons
the Devils to Council." Momus Triumphans 122.
But Herford shows that Langbaine's supposition, expanded by
Halliwell to the assertion that "the principal plot of the play is founded
on Belphegor", is absolutely untenable, and the play arose from the
Friar Rush legend. (Herford 308318.) A careful examination of Dek-
ker's play shows it to contain no reminiscence even of Machiavelli.
3 ) Cf. Chettle ed. Lennard XII.
For, never yet was foole a Florentine,
As by the wise hath well observed byn."
"Microcosmos." Grosart. I, 32.
Henry Crosse fancied Machiavelli especially hurtful to
age : *) and Breton seemed to be growing tired of all the
so-called Machiavellian policies in books.
He dedicates to John Linewray his "Dialogue of Pithe
and Pleasure" : -
"Wherein it may be you shall finde pleasant wittes speake
to some purpose, no Machaviliau pollicies, nor yet idle fables",
Grosart II, 4.
The translation of Montaigne's essays mentioned Machia-
velli 2 ) en passant : in the same is also to be found the lion-
"Pope Boniface the Eight is reported to have entered into
his charge as a Fox, to have carried himself therein as a
Lion, and to have died like a Dog." Florio ed. Morley, 165.
That Jonson' had read Machiavelli carefully is ap-
parent from the "Discoveries": 3 ) we would naturally seek
*) "to speake somewhat of those vaine, idle, wanton Pamphlets
and lascivious love-books [in Aretine's manner] ... as hurtful to youth,
as Machavile to age." Vertus Commonwealth. Grosart 89.
2 ) "Machiavel's discourses were very solid for the subject, yet hath
it been very easie to impugne them, and those that have done have left
no lesse a facilitie to impugne them." Florio ed. Morley 336.
3 ) Almost the whole cap. 9 of the Prin. is incorporated in the
Discoveries. A fair specimen of their coincidence is e. g. Giff-Cunn. 404 :
Xobilium ingenia and Principum varia.
Prin. 9. "E non sia alcuno che ripugni a questa mia opinione
con quel proverbio trito che chi fonda in sul popolo, fonda
in sul fango; perche quello e vero quando un cittadino pri-
vato vi fa su fondamento, e dassi ad intendere che il popolo
lo liberi quando esso fusse oppresso dagl' inimici o dai magi-
strati." Cf. also Disc. I, 48.
Jon. (loco tit.}. "Nor let the common proverb (of he that builds
on the people builds on dirt) discredit my opinion: for that
hath only place where an ambitious and private person, for
his influence in "Sejanus". Several passages contain thoughts
to be found in the Florentine's writings; but since Jonson
never cites them as his authority and always goes back to
Tacitus, Sallust. Livy etc.: it must be concluded, the coin-
cidences J ) in this "prodigious rhetoric" and Machiavelli arise
in having been drawn from the same sources.
some popular end, trusts in them against the public justice
"dementia. Machiavell. A Prince should exercise his cruelty
not by himself, but by his ministers ; so he may save himself
and his dignity with his people, by sacrificing those when he
list, saith the great doctor of state, Machiavell." (405). This
comes from Prin. 7 and is refuted by Jonson.
And again: under dementia tutela optima (405) Prin. cap. 8
is cited and refuted : "He that is cruel by halves (saith
the said St. Nicholas) loseth no less the opportunity of his
cruelty than of his benefits" When Jonson here canonized
Machiavelli, he was, no doubt, thinking of the cant term for
thieves (St. Nicholas' Clerks) so often used in the drama;
vide B. and F. "Loyal Subject" III, 4 (330): Webster "Cure
for a Cuckold" IV, 1: Wilson "The Cheats" I, 1 (18).
To suppose this idea of Mach. being considered the patron saint
of pads was meant in earnest, or other than a merry jest,
would be as absurd as to think Butler was serious in
saying, ''Machiavel gave name to our Old Nick", which
Macaulay actually seems to have thought. It is interesting
to compare with Jonson's "St. Machiavel", Lacy's "The Dumb
Lady" III, 1 (59).
Doctor) "Nurse . . . I'll show thee a reverend book, called St.
Aretine's, where you shall be convinced there's no such thing
as honesty." Cf. ibid, also Y, 1 (94 D. of R. IV).
J ) Sej.) "Whom hatred frights, Let him not dream of sovereign-
ty ... The prince who shames a tyrant's name to bear, Shall never
dare do anything but fear; All the command of sceptres quite doth
perish, If it begin religious thoughts to cherish" :
II, 2 (Giff. Cuun. I, 288). Cf. Prin. XVII: Disc. Ill, 19 (377).
Tib.) "The prince that feeds great natures, they will sway him
Who nourisheth a lion, must obey him."
III, 3 (304). Cf. Prin. XIII: Disc. II, 20 (254).
Mac.) "He that will thrive in state, he must neglect The trodden
In this year Shakspere produced another fine villain,
Angelo in "Measure for Measure" : he is more in the manner
of Beaumont and Fletcher than of Marlowe. One would hardly
call him a Machiavellian; and yet Davenant, in his "Law
against Lovers", an amalgamation of this play and "Much
Ado", did not hesitate to have Benedick impute his brother
Angelo's villainy to Machiavel's books.
Beatrice) - "Benedick,
We will cast off the serious faces of
Conspirators, and appear to the deputy
As merry, and as gay, as nature in
The spring. This house shall be all carnival,
Benedick) Good! we will laugh him [Angelo] out
Of s politics, till he make paper kites
Of Machiavel's books, and play with his pages
In the fields." IV, 1 (Dram, of Rest. V, 168).
Next year (1604) appeared a book, the title of which
is characteristic of the times, and shows that Ben Jonson's
application of the Florentine's name to a woman had not
passed unnoticed. It is called, "The Unmasking of a femi-
nine Machiavell" by Thomas Andrew. 1 ) From this title
something might be expected, but it turns out to be merely
a fierce diatribe upon a false woman; this calling a pro-
stitute, a "Machiavel" was probably a reminiscence of Nashe,
who had already imputed the art of venery to the Floren-
tine statesman. 2 ) One passage is, however, very significant
paths that truth and right respect: And prove new, wilder
ways: for virtue there Is not that narrow thing, she is else-
where ; Men's fortune there is virtue ; reason their will ; Their
licence, law; and their observance, skill. Occasion is their
foil; conscience, their stain; Profit their lustre; and what else
is, vain." Ill, 3 (305).
*) Cf. Drake: "Sh. and his Times" I, 676.
2 ) Ante p. 59.
of what Machiavelli had now become to the popular
"That damned Politician Machiavell ,
That, some say, had his Maximes out of hell, *)
Had he but beene a schollar unto her,
To learne his Arte, need not have gone so farre.
She of her owne would have imparted store
Of cursed plots, ne're thought upon before,
Such and so deepe, as none could e're devise,
But her great Grandsire, father of all lyes.
With the Hienaes voyce can she beguile,
And weepe, but like the Nile- bred Crocodile,
That on the pray she instantly devoures,
Dissembling teares in great abundant powers.
With the Cameleon can she change her hiew,
Like every object that her eye doth view,
Proteus was never half so mutable
As the unconstant, of her word unstable :
Her eyes like Basilisks dart poyson out." p. 19.
The Elizabethans were never tired of mentioning the
hyena, the crocodile, the chameleon, Proteus, the basilisk
etc. : just as these were mere fictions in their imaginations,
so Machiavelli had become a kind of allegorical personi-
fication of all villainy; the counterpart of the devil. Thus
in "Friar Bacon's Prophecie: A Satire on the Degeneracy
of the Times", the brazen head introduced to the Elizabethan
audience by Greene says: -
"How observation nudes
By all experience artes,
How Machavilian mindes
Do plaie the devils partes;
While love, (alas!) hath little grace
In worshipping a wicked face."
Percy Soc. (Halliwell) XV. p. 15.
The same use is made in denouncing Sir Walter Kaleigh
as a Machiavellian.
Cf. "From female Machiavell pull thou the maske
- from daughter to the Devill" 23. ibid.
"Wilye Watt, wilie Wat,
Wots thou not and know thou what,
Looke to thy forme and quat
In towne and citie.
Freshe houndes are on thy taile,
That will pull downe thy saile,
And make thy hart and quaile
Lord for the pittie.
For thy skaunce and pride,
Thy bloudy minde beside,
And thy mouth gaping wide
Essex for vengeance cries,
His bloud upon the lies,
Mounting above the skies
Damnable fiend of hell,
Percy Soc. No. 55, VII.
Eobert Pricket defended Essex from the verj r crime
just imputed to his rival.
,,He [Essex] was not hollow, like the Vaults of hell.
His soundnesse fled from base hypochrisy.
He fetcht no rules from hel-borne Machiavel, a )
His learning was divine Philosophy,
His word and deed without a false intending,
In Honors Lyft went on, the Truth commending;
His vertues steps to Truth inclinde,
Close subtile falshood underminde."
Honors Fame. Grosart. 33.
Breton continued in his cant use. 2 )
Of. Cowper "Charity" (Chalm. XVIIL 635). .
"Where love, in these the World's last doting years,
As frequent as the want of it appears
The statesman, skill d in projects dark and deep,
Might burn his useless Machiavel, and sleep."
Grimello) "I loved no Painting on my face . . . nor excesse in
_In Shakspprp.'s "Ot.hftlln" .Tag-o is a,
villain : his playing off Qf..EMeidgo and Cassia
Machavilian", but still shows no direct knowledge
"Principe". The only thought, which might possibly come
from this book, is of frequent occurence in Shakspere.
not device by coldness and delay^jI, 3.
Iii Marston and Webster's "Malcontent" Mendoza is a
"villainous politician", but rather a shallow one. His scheme,
of using Malevole to kill the duke, and then to kill him,
is that so often found already in the drama ; he has, however,
all the egoism of a Machiavel.
"We that are great, our sole self-good still moves us."
IV, 1 (Bullen I, 283).
He cites two Machiavellian maxims, both of which had
appeared before in English literature.
"They [Piero and Malevole] shall die both, for their deserts
Than we can recompense." l ) IV, 1 (291). [crave more
"Mischief that prospers, men do virtue call.' 2 )
I'll trust no man: he that by tricks gets wreaths
Keeps them with steel." V, 2 (306).
These show, as before stated, that Marston had studied
the "Prince". The very blunder through which Mendoza
fails Machiavelli had warned against. 3 )
my apparrell . . . nor to flatter a foole, nor to converse with a Macha-
vilion, make idle love" - Grimello's Fortune : Grosart. II, 6.
1) Vide "Leicester's Commonwealth" Buckingham and Kich. III.
2 ) Of. Behn: "The Feign'd Curtezans" V, 2 (II, 329).
Cornelia) "for Wisdom is but good Success in things, and
those that fail are Fools.
Galliard] Most gloriously disputed!
You're grown a Machivellian in your Art."
3 ) Mend.) "The chiefest secret for a man of state
Is, to live senseless of a strengthless hate." V, 2 (307).
In Sylvester's "Du Bartas" of this year, England is
accused of using Machiavellian principles.
"the Translator (leaving his translation) sharply
And wanton England, why hast thou forgot
Thy visitation, as thou had'st it not
Thine uncontroll'd, bold, open Atheism
Close Idol-service: cloaked Hypocrism
Strife-full Ambition, Florentizing States
Bribes and Affection swaying Magistrates
These are thy sins: These are the Signes of Ruin."
2 n( l day of 1st week.
In the comedy of the "London Prodigal", once attributed
to Shakspere, occurs the following:
Master Flowerdale) "Good morrow, good Sir Lancelot: good
morrow, master Weathercock. By my troth, gentlemen, I
have been reading over Nick Machiavel, I find him good to
be known, not to be followed. A pestilent human fellow! I
have made certain annotations on him, such as they be."
Ill, 2 (Anc. Brit. Dram. 383.)
This idea of annotations is, of course, a reminiscence
of Greene, who probably had his notion from Nashe.
When Sir Lancelot presses Flowerdale to tell him if he
have a duel on hand with Oliver, he rejoins:
"The Italian hath a pretty saying. Questo -- I have forgot
it too : 'tis out of my head : but in my translation, if it hold,
thus: If thou hast a friend, keep him; if a foe, trip him."
Machiavelli expressly says that hate is fatal. Prin. XVII. So Hanno
in "Sophonisba" :
"'Tis well in state
To doe close ill, but voyd a public hate." II, 3 (627).
No such maxim occurs in Machiavelli, and there are
none of his supposed teachings in this play ; but certainly,
it was not unintentional that this wretched profligate was
made to read Machiavelli: no doubt, the audience saw in
such reading the source of all his licentiousness.
Chapman, with his excellent Terencian comedy "All
Fooles", now sought to ridicule the popular conception of
Machiavellism in Gastanzo, a simple old fool who, however,
With the fine sleights and policies of the world."
Ill, 1 (Shepherd 62).
He is duped by everybody, but tenaciously considers
all except himself fools. He is the parodied Machiavel.
Valerio, believed by his father Gastanzo too bashful
even to speak to a woman, is a very rake : he meets,
and embraces his "stolen wife" Gratiana of whom
Gastanzo had no knowledge. The wily Binaldo
"And should the wretched Machiavelian
The covetous knight, your father, see this sight,
Lusty Valerio?" I, 1 (49).
Again, when Einaldo actually cozens the old simple-
ton into taking Gratiana in his own house, as
Rin.) "And work all this out of a Machiavel, *)
A miserable politician
I think the like was never played before." II, 1 (57).
l } Cf. Otway: "Friendship in Fashion" V (p. 59 ed. Thorn.).
Mrs. Ooodvile (Lettice having reported her husband is coming
home disguised to deceive her) "Mr. Truman, do you retire
with Malagene. I'll stay here, and receive this Machiavel in
Gastanzo's Machiavellism consists in the following
evident parody: -
"Promises are 110 Fetters: with that tongue
Thy promise past, unpromise it againe,
Wherefore has Man a Tongue, of powre to speake
But to speake still to his owne private purpose?
Beastes utter but one sound; but Men have change
Of speach and Reason, even by Nature given them:
Now to say one thing, and an other now,
As best may serve their profitable endes." II, 1 (55).
In " Eastward e Hoe", Borgia 1 ) is cited much in the
manner Machiavelli ordinarily was. In Heywood's play,
"If you know not me", recurs the old thought in "Tailored
Winchester to Mary.) "If your highness
Will your own estate preserve, you must
Foresee far danger, and cut off all such
As would your safety prejudice." Sh. Soc. 197 (1851).
In "Volpone", Jonson introduced a very facetious use
of the popular "scare": -
Sir Politick) First, for your garb, it must be grave 'and serious.
Very reserv'd and lock'd: not tell a secret
On any terms - - beware
You never speak at ruth -
Sir Pol.) Not to strangers -
And then, for your religion, profess none.
But wonder at the diversity, of all:
And, for your part, protest, were there no other
But simply the laws o'the land, you could content you,
Nic. Machiavel, and Monsier Bodin, both
Were of this mind. Then must you learn the use
And handling of your glass; (these are main matters
*) Quick.) "Bring forth my braverie.
Now let my truncks shoote forth their silkes conceal'd.
I now am free, and now will Justine
My trunkes and punkes. Avaunt, dull flat-cap, then!
Via. the curtaiue that shadowed Borgia!" II, 1.
With your Italian:) and to know the hour
When you must eat your melons, and your figs.
Per.) Is that a point of state too?
Sir Pol.) Here it is." IV, 1 (375).
In this scene, as Whalley observed and Gilford accepted,
Jonson ridicules the advice usually given for Italian travel ;
it is also evident he has adopted Chapman's bantering
sarcasm on Machiavelli.
In the year 1606 Barnabe Barnes cited Machiavelli
thrice in his "Offices": one citation treats of the maxim
often found in the drama. Thus in the dedication to King
"Vile is that wretched analogic, which the corrupt Florentine
Secretarie Nicolo Machivelli .servant to Duke Petro di Medici,
did in his puddle of princely policies produce betwixt a true
Prince and a mixt monster: resembling- him (by the example
of Achilles who was instructed by Chyron the Centaure) unto
a lion and a fox, importing his strength and caution in all
affaires: whereas it is well knowen, how no true prince can
aptly be compared to that unsavory curre. ... II Prencipe
The two other references never occur in the drama ; ] )
all three are, of course, refuted or denied. 2 ) Mars ton again
J ) "It is very commendable in a prince to be reputed liberall, which
some curious and cunning writers would have out of the purses of
others .... Nicolo Mace, il pren. cap. 16." p. 12.
2 ) e. g. "There is one ambitious rule, which the Machivilian politicks
have taught to colour their wickednesse, according to that saying out
of Euripides cited by Cicero from the mouth of Cams Caesar : Nam si
violandum est jus, regnandi gratia violandum est; alijs rebus pietatem
colas: For if men will violate justice, the violation thereof ought to
proceed from the hopes of soveraignitie, which may depend thereon: in
all other things (saving in matters of empire) let a man declare pietle.
But the wisest Philosophers teach us, that it is base and vulgar to
thirst after soveraignitie; meaning that ambition can not seaze upon
shows in Sophonisba his intimate knowledge of the
Syphax) "Passion is reason when it speakes from might:
I tell thee, man, nor kings nor gods exempt,
But they grow pale if once they find contempt." l ]
I, 1 (Bullen II, 242).
Carthalo) "Pish! prosperous successe gives blackest actions glorie;
The meanes are unremembered in most story." 2 ) II, 1 (255).
Asdrubal has given order for Massinissa's murder: -
Hanuo) "But yet thinke, Asdruball.
Tis fit at least you bear griefe's outward show;
It is your kinsman bleeds. What need men know
Your hand is in his wounds? 'Tis well in state
To doe close ill, but voyd a public hate." 3 ) II, 3 (267).
and again: -
Hanno) "Profit and honesty are not in one state" II, 1 (254).
Although this last line savors of Marlowe, yet there
can be no doubt, but that three of these passages go di-
rectly to the "Principe", as well as the following often
Carthalo) - "violent chance shall force a state
To break given faith.
Beware t'oifend great men, and let them live." 4 ) II, 1 (256).
Medice or, as he confesses himself, "Mendice" in the
"Gentleman Usher" was a fitting study for Lorenzo in "Al-
a very noble and magnanimious heart. . . . Vide cap. 17 prince Nic. Ma-
chiavell." p. 110.
*) Cf. Prin. XIX: Disc. Ill, 6 (329).
*) Prin. XV. Ante 105, note 2.
8 ) Prin. XVII.
4 ) Ante p. 24.
phonsus", but Machiavellian maxims were not, as yet, used
seriously by Chapman.
Having made acquaintance with Machiavelli, Barnes now
sought to incorporate his knowledge in a play, "The Divel's
Charter" J ), containing the life and death of Alexander VI
and Caesar Borgia. The play is a palpable imitation of
Marlowe; the Pope signing the blood compact, conjuring and
dying as Faustus had done. 2 ) It is a mixture of murder,
adultery, incest, homicide, fratricide, and sodomy seldom
surpassed. No mention is made of Machiavelli, but the
"Principe" 3 ) is used to considerable extent in the first act.
Alex, to Candy) "You must not be so ceremonius
Of oathes and honesty, Princes of this world
Are not prickt in the bookes of conscience,
You may not breake your promise for a world:
Learne this one lesson looke yee marke it well,
It is not alwaies needful to keepe promise,
For Princes (forc'd by meere necessity
To passe their faithfull promises) againe
Forc'd by the same necessity to breake promise." I, 4.
J ) No doubt, the same as "Alexander VI", entered on the Statio-
ner's registers Oct. 16th, 1607, though Halliwell (Die. of Plays p. 9)
does not notice it as such.
2 ) Guicciardini acts as prologue just as Machiavelli did for the
"Jew of Malta".
3 ) Sforza's words to Charles also arise from it:
"Can more grosse error rest in pollicy,
Then first to raise a turbulent sharpe storme,
And unadvisedly to leave defence
To doubtful chance and possibilities.
To brooch strong poyson is too dangerous,
And not be certaine of the present vertue
Which is contained in his Antidot.
Wilde fire permitted without limit burnes,
Even to consume them that first kindled it."
I, 1. Cf. Prin. III.
Caesar) "And for your more instructions learne these rules!
If any Cedar in your forrest spread,
And overpeere your branches with his top
Provide an axe to cut him at the roote,
Suborne informers or by snares intrap
That King- of Flies within the Spider's Webbe;
Or else ensnare him in the Lion's toyles.
What though the multitude applaud his fame:
Because the vulgar have wide open eares,
Mutter amongst them, and possesse their hearts
That his designements wrought against the state,
By which yea wound him with a publicke hate :
So let him perish yet seeme pittiful.
Cherrish the weakenesse of his stock and race
As if alone he meritted disgrace.
Suffer your Court to mourne his funeralls,
But burne a bone-fire for him in your Chamber."
to which Alexander adds:
"Caesar delivereth Oracles of truth.
'Tis well-sayd Caesar, yet attend a little,
And binde them like rich bracelets on thine armes
Or as a precious iewell at thine eare.
Suppose two factious Princes both thy friends,
Ambitious both, and both competitors,
Advance in hostile armes against each other:
Joyne with the strongest to confound the weake,
But let your war's foundation touch his Crowne,
Your neerest charity concerne yourself;
Els let him perish: yet seeme charitable,
As if you were meerely compos'd of vertue:
Beleeve me, Candy, things are as they seeme,
Not what they be themselves: all is opinion:
And all this world is but opinion." 1 ) I. 4.
But even Barnes mixes up Machiavelli and Marlowe,
"Look what large distance is twixt Heaven and Earth,
So mony leagues twixt wealth and honesty:
And they that live puling upon the fruits
Of honest consciences, starve on the Common." I, 4.
This idea of wealth can only come from Barabas: the
last two lines, certainly, are taken almost literally from
Caesar is a Machiavellian, 2 ) and makes use of the stra-
tagem so often met with in the drama. He has Frescobaldi
kill Candy, and then kills the assassin by pitching him into
the Tiber. Thus we see, a dramatist, using the "Principe"
with malice afore-thought, could not keep himself free from
the powerful influence of Marlowe.
Beaumont and Fletcher now took it upon themselves
also to parody the Machiavel villain of the stage in the
person of Lucio (in "The Woman Hater") , a weak formal
statesman, ever racking his brains, "For the main good of
the dear commonwealth". The formal fool 3 ) says of himself:
"My book-strings are suitable, and of a reaching colour . . .
My standish of wood strange and sweet, and my fore-flap
hangs in the right place, and as near Machiavel's as can be
gathered from tradition." V, 1. (Barley II, 447.)
The Duke sees through his littleness however : the pas-
sage, being characteristic of the reason why in so many
J ) Ante p. 40.
2 ) Cf. Lee: "Caesar Borgia" I, 1 (II. 18 ed. 1734).
Machiavel) "0 ! Caesar Borgia ! such a Name and Nature !
That is my second Self; a Machiavel !
3 ) For a fool to think himself a Machiavel was also popular after
E. g. Gibber: "The Double Gallant" IV, 1 (III, 63).
-Sir Solomon Sad-life (a gulled cuckold). "What two blessed es-
capes I have had! to find myself no Cuckold at last, and,
which had been equally terrible, my Wife not know I wrong-
fully suspected her. - - Well ! at length I am fully convinc'd
of her Virtue and now if I can but cut off the abominable
Expence, that attends some of her impertinent Acquaintance,
I shall show myself a Machiavel"
Italian ') plays, where villains abound, so little Machiavellism
occurs in Beaumont and Fletcher, is here given: -
Duke i ''Why thinks your lordship I am up so soon?
Lucio) About some weighty state-plot.
Duke) You are Avell conceited of yourselves to think
I chuse you out to bear me company
In such affairs and business of state!
You are my friends and you shall have the cause;
1 break my sleeps thus soon to see a wench."-) I. 1 (429).
In the final dismissal of Lucio, the dramatists must
have had in mind Machiavelli's study in his banishment.
Out of Lazarillo's plot to get a taste of the Um-
brana's head Lucio has convicted him of High
Valeric) ,,Sir, you have performed the part of a most careful states-
man: and, let me say it to your face sir, of a father to this
state: I would wish you to retire, and iusconce yourself in
study; for such is your daily labour, and our fear, that your
loss of an hour may breed our overthrow." V, 2 (450).
In the next year 3 ) (1608) appeared the second edition
of Patericke's translation of Gentillet.
') "A duke there is, and the scene lies in Italy as though two
things lightly, we never miss." Prologue. 428.
2 ) Machiavelli expressly forbids intriguing with subjects' wives.
Priii. XVII: 1st; Fior. II (123): Disc. Ill, 26 (395). Priu. XIX.
r> ) This was the year of Lord Brooke's "Alaham". Lamb says iii
his "Specimens" of this play and ,,Mustapha": -
"These two tragedies of Lord Brooke might with more propriety
have been termed political treatises than plays. Their author
has strangely contrived to make passion, character, and in-
terest of the highest order subservient to the expression of
State dogmas and mysteries. He is nine parts Machiavel and
Tacitus, for one part of Sophocles and Seneca." This state-
ment like all Lamb's wants to be taken cum grano sails.
Beaumont and Fletcher's play "Philaster" .contains one
thought of the "Principe" ; but one already extant in the
King 1 ) "To give a stronger testimony of my love
Than sickly promises (which commonly
In princes find both birth and burial
In one breath) we have" I, 1 (Darley 28).
John Day showed in his drama "Humour out of Breath"
what the prevalent idea of Machiavellians was.
Aspero, the malcontent son of the banished duke An-
thouio relates his dream, and asks his father to do
Anth.)"How can he dream that never sleeps, my sonne?
Asp.) 0, best of all : why, your whole world doth nothing- but dreame :
your machiavell he dreames of state, deposing- kings, grounding
new monarchies : the lover, he dreames of kisses" -~^
I. 2 (Bullen 14).
Asp.) : 'Send him a letter that I come to kill him.
Boy) Twere great valor, but little pollicy, my Lord.
Asp.) How long have you bin a matchiaviliau, boy?
Boy) Ever since I practis'd to play the knave, my lord.
Asp.) Then policy and knavery are somewhat a kin.
Boy) As neere as penury and gentry: a degree and a half re-
mov'de, no more." II, 1.
These passages merely voice what has already been
heard; but still there is one significant point about them.
All the other names of persons, of which several occur in
There is very little Machiavellianism in "Alaham" other than
e.g. Heli) "Thou art but one: for all a sufferer be.
Alah.} That one is more than all the world to me."
I, 1 (Grosart III, 473).
But these two plays are "closet-dramas" and lie beyond the dis-
cussion on hand.
this play, are spelt with initial capitals: this one alone, in
two places, appears without. The conclusion must be, that
it had passed, for the day at least, from a proper into a
common noun, just as "braggadoccio" and "gnathonic" have
done. J ) This is the more remarkable , since Machiavelli
was an historical personage and not a mere fiction as Brag-
gadoccio and Gnatho. Whether the explanation offered be
right or not, this use occurs here alone, and was even dis-
carded by Day himself in another play.
Horatio) "What is a Man? hart a the Devil, meere fool.
His rich invention, Machivilian plots -
Idle, illusive, antick phantasies,
Apelles grapes!" Law-Tricks IV, 3.
The " scholarly and cultured" Day shows no knowledge
of Machiavelli, other than the mere cant name in his in-
dividual plays ; this makes it doubtful whether it was he or
Haughton, who (it was conjectured) adapted Belphegor.
In 1609 J[ohn] M[elton] cited Machiavelli's advice as to
religion, and punned upon his name.
"Fiftly, let him resolve himselfe
to be immooveably fixed .... in his religon, .... Machiavill
therefore (whether men tearrae him Hatchevil, or not to be
macht in evill, it bootes not) in this respect perswades his
schollers wisely (in my poore conceit) either not at all to devote
himselfe to any religion, or else never to forsake their con-
science: either to be absolutely good or absolutely ill, not to
hong in uncertaintie, sometimes inclining to good actions,
sometimes to ill, as they best seeme to further their present
use and imployment." A Sixe-Folde Politician. 158.
A similar use of Aretine is made in "ASixefolde Politician" 1609.
"They fall either to the secret profession and practicing . . .
such aretin" -- p. 68.
John Davies referred to the egoism of the Florentine's
followers : by making the same jeu de mot as the preceeding,
he proves the name was pronounced Match-, not Mach-iavel. 1 )
Dekker, in a pamphlet "Worke for Armorours", made his
only reference to Machiavelli, and adopted the popular idea
of all deception having originated with him.
"Deceipt lookes a little squint, yet is of deeper reach than
any of the rest [Violence, Usury, etc.] .... He hath more
followers than the 12 Peeres of Fraunce, he studies Machiavell.
and hath an french face." Grosart IV, 131.
In the next year (1610) Davies finished his characteristic
citations of Machiavelli, (punning again on the word), by
proclaiming him hung up in hell for his devilish precepts,
which even all grooms were now practicing.
"But now (ah now) ensues a pinching pang,
A villaine vile, that sure in hell doth hang 1 ,
Hight Mach-evill that evill none can match,
Daub'd me with dev'llish Precepts, Soules to catch,
And made me so. (poore silly innocent)
Of good soules wracke, the cursed instrument.
Now not a Groome (whose wits erst soard no hyer
Then how to pile the Logs on his Lords fire)
But playes the Machiavillian (with a pox)
And in a Sheep-skin clad, the Woolfe or Fox."
Paper's Complaint. Grosart II, 78.
Muleasses in John Mason's "The Turke" is an over-
drawn imitation of Eleazar. His maxim is:
"When Truth's sonnes play the Poiititians.
Heav'n help thee, Truth, in Earth thy case is hard:
Truth's hardly matcht with Machiavelians,
That her wil wound so they themselves may ward:
For, pious Polititians are blacke swans:
And blest are Realmes that they do (ruling 1 ) gard:"
Humours Heart n on Earth. Grosart I, 25.
"murder aud blood
Are the two pillars of a Statesman's good." II, 1.
Borgias is also a villain of the deepest dye; but there
is no Machiavellianism in the play.
In Dekker's play of 1611, "If t be not Good, the Devill
is in't", one of the devils, sent by Pluto bears the name
of Alphege: whether this be a reminiscence of "Belphegor"
or not the beginning of this play, as Langbaine ! ) observes,
seems to be written in imitation of the novelette.
Jonson's "Cataline" contains thoughts to be found in
the "Principe"; but what was said of "Sejanus" 2 ) applies
here as well: morever both the following thoughts were
already in the drama.
Cic.) "for unto men
Prest with their wants, all change is ever welcome." 3 )
III, 2 (Giff-Cuun. II, 105).
Caes.) (to Cat.) - "and slip no advantage
That may secure you. Let them call it mischief;
When it is past and prospered 'twill be virtue." 4 )
Sylvester again accuses the court of using Machiavelli : 5 )
in "Simile non est idem".
J ) Mom. Trium. ad locum.
a ) Ante 78.
3 ) Cf. Prin. Ill: Disc. Ill, 21 (380).
*} This was a direct^ plagiarism on Ben's part. Cf. Marston "Mal-
content" V, 2 (ante p. 81):
: "Mischief that prospers men do virtue call."
6 ) Again he uses Florentine for Mach. in "Lacrymae Lacryrnarum" :
"Let each of us cease to lament (in vain)
Prince Henry's Loss: Death is to Him a Gain
For Savoy's Dukelings, or the Florentine,
Hee weds his Saviour of a Regall Line" II, 278.
"Sacred Religion where art thou?
Not in the Church, with Simonie :
Nor on the Bench, with Briherie:
Nor in the Court, with Machiavell :
Nor in the Citie, with Deceits:
Nor in the Country, witli Debates
For What hath Heav'n to do with
Grosart II, 255.
He condemns it again for so doing: in "Panaretns".
"But to His [God's] onely Bountie must they [Princes] give
Th'honour of all the fruits they shall atchieve
By their most noble ('ares, most royall Pains:
, Not to the depth of Machiavilian brains." II, 132.
He also has a strange passage, where he links the
two most abhorred Italians together : in -'Lacrymae Lacry-
"All, briefly all, all Ages, Sexes, Sorts,
All Epicures, Wit-wantons, Atheists,
Mach-Aretines, Monies, Tap-to-Bacconists
Have pull'd this waight of Wrath: the Vengeance down."
Webster, having in mind, no doubt, the Medici to whom
the "Principe" was dedicated, took occasion to call Francisco
de Medici a Machiavellian in ms tragedy "The White
Fran.} "Sure, Jhis was Florence' doing [the murder of Brachiano].
Flam.) Very likely.
Those are found weighty strokes which come from the hand,
But those are killing strokes which come from the head.
0, the rare tricks of a Machiavelian !
He doth not come, like a gross plodding slave,
And buifet you to death, makes you die laughing,
As if you had swallow'd down a pound of saifron.
You see the feat, 'tis practis'd in a trice;
To teach court honesty, it jumps on ice."
V, 3 (Mermaid Ser. 104).
In another passage direct reference seems to be made
to the "Principe".
Brack, to physician) "Most corrupted politic hang-man,
You kill without book." 1 ) V, 3 (96).
Francisco uses Machiavellian maxims: Gasparo says
to Vittoria of him:
"Fool, princes give rewards with their own hands,
But death or punishment by the hands of others." V. 6(121).
This is one of Machiavelli's points of praise in Cesare
Borgia. 2 )
Brachiano. too, has much of the Florentine in him:
Lodowick says to him:
"Oh you slave!
You that were held the famous politician 3 )
Whose art was poison." V. 3 (102).
There is, however, little or no direct Machiavellism in
this play; since it contains no political intrigue, but is
based on that action in the prince Brachiano, which
Machiavelli expressly forbids. 4 ) None of Webster's other
preserved 5 ) plays makes use of the Florentine.
*) Nashe had already said : "The art of Murder Machiavel hath
-) Cf. Prin. VII.
*) Romelio says he could play the villain in "The Devil's Law
"As if I had eat a politician.
And digested him to nothing but pure blood."
Ill, 2 (Dyce. 122).
This probably means Machiavelli.
4 ) Ante p. 87 note 3.
5 ) In the letter to Finch prefixed to "The Devil's Law-Case''
Webster speaks of a play "The Guise", by himself; this, through Mar-
lowe's influence, may have contained Machiavellism. Cf. Dyce 105.
Tourueur, whose name is often placed unjustly by Webster's, seems to
have had no knowledge of Machiavelli.
In 1613 appeared a curious poem, "The Uncasing of
Machivil's Instructions to his sonne: With the Answere
to the same", *) which promulgates the time-honored theory,
advocated if not invented by Cardinal Pole, that the "Prin-
cipe" was written only as a warning.
"Machiavil's rules doe whet the purest wits,
Aiid doe expell them from their idle fits :
To wisemen they showe the world's follie,
AVith notice of preventing deedes uuholie,
Which is the true intent of the Authors meaning, [showing?]
How ever fooles their judgements are bestowing.
Though the beginning doe of harshnesse taste
And many things are hudled up in hast:
And though there be instruction to ill,
Good understanding the same doth kill,
And turnes those words unto the truest sense,
Which for those faults doth make a recompeuce,
As the Answere by degrees plainly showes,
What duty to Vertue each creature owes,
Coiidemne not all till all be throughly past,
If first be worst, the best is kept till last."
The author was evidently exercised at the awful but
enticing apparition, which Machiavelli had become to his
countrymen, and the prodigal manner in which they were
supposed to be practising his precepts. Nevertheless, he
falls into the same cant use of him as the pedagogue of
all villainy. -) He seems to have known no more of thu
Florentine, than such maxims as were already notorious : -
') Cf. Lowndes "Bib. Man." Ill, 1438.
2 ) - the poore man, that pines for want of friends
May sit and sigh, and picke his finger's ends.
Till that some good Knight or learned gentleman
That will not be a Machavilliau,
May hap to grace him - (p. 23).
''If tliou wilt be a man of much esteeme,
Be not the same what ever so thou seem,
Speak faire to al, be gentle, courteous, kind,
But let the World know nothing of thy mind.
Nor trust no friend, for faith begins to faile:
The wisest poore man passeth for a gull." p. 5.
"Promise enough, but not perforrae to much:
Frequent the Church make show of great devotion/' p. 6.
"Let conscience knock, care not for that at all." p. 11.
"Look to't in time, strike whiles the iron's hot." p. 14.
"Learne to know kingdomes, Nations, and their natures.
But in all noates, noate this of all,
How thou mai'st rise, whoever hap to fall." p. 22.
With these popular ideas of Machiavellism are mixed
up the most jejune commonplaces : *) ^vve also find the
Marlowesqnp id ftp, of Mndiinynlli instructing ho *p rnak a
"Looke well about, that thou kast time and place,
Least that some Machiavill chance to spie it,
Dicloseth all, to gaine something by it." p. 9.
Or more direct still: -
"But withall be sure to flatter soe,
That to thy purse, some piece of monie goe."-) p. 14.
*) Such as : "Wear not thy shooes to short, nor cloake to long 1 ." p. 8.
"Stumble not at a straw, nor leape o're a block;
Leave not things at randome, keepe all under lock." p. 16.
"Foule words corrupt good manners." p. 18.
"But let thy profit answere thy expense,
Least want do prove a wofull patience,
And thou do prove the proverbe often tolde,
A careless Courtier yong, a Beggar olde." p. 7.
2 ) Also: "Be rich therefore I say, be rich my Sonne,
For wealth will sway the World when all is done." p. 27.
and this leads to a thought also to be found in one of
the dramatic villains: -
"If thou be rich, thou quickly ma'ist be great." *) p. 24.
In the "Answere" the author repeats the double entendre
idea of Machiavelli's writings : -
"by the knowledge of them thou might'st beware
How thou art caught in any vicious snare.
Machiavel's rules deny, yet use them to thy pleasure." 2 )
For each vicious maxim of the first part a virtuous
radc MCWIM is given, as: -
''Performe thy word, but promise not too much."
"Frequent the church with faith and true devotion."
"Machiavel's rules let Machiavels reade,
Love thou thy God, his spirit be thy speede."
and the stalest proverbs are again rung in. 3 )
Machiavelli had now become such a public scare-crow
as to appear to the shrewd Henslowe a capital catch-penny :
we find him paying over double the sum usually^ given
for a play to Robert Daborne for his tragedy of "Machiavel
and The Devil". 4 )
^Memorandum : 'tis agreed between Phillip Hinchlow,
Esq r and Robert Daborn, gent., y* y e s d Robert
shall before ye end of this Easter Term deliver in
his Tragoedy, cald Matchavill and y e Divill, into the
'*) Cf. Marston "Malcontent".
Mai.) - ''make me some rich knave, and I'll make myself some
great man." Ill, 4.
2 ) Again : "But now my sonne. that thou hast learn'd this lore,
Upon my blessing looke on it no more,
Except it be by ill to know the good."
3 ) ' 'Familiarity contempt doth breed."
U A ineane in all, in .all is ever best/' ;
) Cf. Hazlitt's Man. p. 146.
hands of y e s d Phillip .... This 17 th of Aprill 1613."
Alleyn Papers ed. Coll., p. 56;
and farther on: -
"Mem: I have receaved of M r Hinchlow the full
somm of sixteen pounds, in part of twenty pounds
due to me, Kobert Daborne, for my tragoedy of
Matchavill and the Divell .... Robt. Daborne.
Collier supposed this might refer to Belphegor. a ) His
conjecture must stand as only of very doubtful value: the
play is expressly called in both notices a tragedy: a
tragedy could hardly have been written upon Belphegor,
so eminently comical. More likely it was some such
production as a combination of the Jew of Malta and
Faustus, where Machiavelli sold his soul to the devil, as
Alexander VI in the "Divel's Charter". It is certainty to
be regretted that no copy of this play, in which Machiavelli
was for the third time brought on the popular stage, has
as yet been found: perhaps it was never printed.
In Chapman's "Revenge of Bussy D'Ambois" Machiavelli
is again reverted to, and his maxims, from Gentillet, used.
Marlowe called Guise a Machiavellian: Chapman has him
use the term with contempt, taking an entirely diiferent
view of him than his predecessor did ; making him in every
way noble. 2 )
*) "It perhaps related to Machiavelli's novel of Belphegor, in which
the devil plays so principal a part: .... The price of a new play at
this date had risen [from 10] to 20 Ibs." 1. c., p. 56.
2 ) See the grand monologue just before his assassination (p. 209).
Even the Massacre is forgiven him (p. 190). Dryden also was more
lenient with Guise : in his play it is King Henry who is the Machia-
velian : thus "The Duke of Guise". II, 1 (Scott VII, 40) :
King) "0 this whole Guise .... Might I but view him, after his plots
Stuck on those cow'ring shallows that await him,
This were a Florence masterpiece indeed."
Again, after Guise's murder:
Queen M.) "You have cut out dangerous work, but make it up
With speed and resolution."
Guise) "These are your Machiavellian villains.
Your bastard Teucers that, their mischiefs clone,
Run to your shield for shelter : . . .
.... woe be to that state
Where treachery guards and ruin makes men great."
The villains referred to are Baligny and Monsieur
(i. e. D'Alengon): no doubt, Chapman remembered to what
a Machiavellian Gentillet had dedicated his book, receiving-
ridicule from him in return. The principles cited, are: -
Baligny) "Treachery for kings is truest loyalty;
Nor is to bear the name of treachery,
But grave, deep policy. All acts that seem
111 in particular respects, are good
As they respect } r our universal rule/' II, 1 (Shep. 187).
Maillard) "But thus forswearing is not perjury;
You are no politician; not a fault,
How foul soever, done for private ends,
Is fault in us sworn to the public good:" IV, 1 (199).
These thoughts may be found in Prin. 15 and 18, but
to insist Chapman had them from there would he hyper-
critical : as we have seen, they were already in the drama.
Rpchard] Cforbet] in the next year (1614) denounced
the two most popular maxims: to ruin an enemy by slander, 1 )
and to palliate villainy in dissimulation.
King) Yes, I'll wear
The fox no longer, but put on the lion." V, 3 (120).
*) "Turnus his enemy would faine supplant,
Yet how to doe it iustly, cause doth want.
His Machiavillian pate doth then devise
To overthrow him by mere forgeries;
Then saith he is a traiter to his prince,
And that he can of treason him convince.
Thus armde, he brings to passe his damned will,
And like a villain guiltlesse blood doth spill.
"Another's miude by hate distempered is,
Miilirinu' whom iu shew he seems to kisse.
Tis base affection causeth dismall strife.
Despoileth honour, and destroy eth life.
Yet in these dayes 'tis counted pollicie
To use dissimulation: villanie
Masqu'd under friendships title (worst of hate
Makes a man live secure and fortunate.
These Machiavillions are the men alone
That thrive i'th' world, and gett promotion.
Was ne're soe bad as some of this- damnde broode.
This brood of Caines, these dissembling- knaves.
These maukinde-haters, bloody minded slaves.
Which all the world with bloody murders till.
Laughing one those whom they intend to kill."
'The Times Whistle" E. E. T. S. 1871. p. 94.
John Tomkis in his comedy of Albumazar bears
facetious testimony to what shrewdness the popular mind
conceived as coming- from the Florentine's teachings.
Sulpitia to Lelio her lover, in jest:
"Peace, peace : now y'are so wise, as if ye had eaten
Nothing- but brains and marrow of Machiavel:
You tip your speeches with Italian motti,
Spanish refranes, and English quoth he's."
IV, 13 (Dods. XI, 401).
In 1615 appeared a second edition of the strange
poem before noticed. r ) John Stephens satirized the mania,
with which every would-be politician referred to Machiavelli : ~)
But he aud's knights o'the post will post to hell,
That thus their soules unto damnation sell."
"The Times Whistle" E. E. T. S. 49.
x ) "The Uncasing- of Machiavel's Instructions to his Sonne."
2 ) u A simple polititian. Is a purblind Fox, that pretends Machia veil
should be his sire: but he proves a mungrell: he was taken from
schoole before he had learned true Latiue: and therefore in triviall
things only, he partakes with craftinesse : because hee lacks true breed-
ing and true bringing- up." Essays and Char. ed. Halliwell 161.
lie also gave a picture of what he supposed to be a real
Machiavel, the coloring- of which comes all from the popular
".4 sid-c Machiacdl PolliWinn. is a baked meate for the
devill : . . . . the villainy which makes him fit for the
devil's banquet, is close and private: .... and he
tindes no shifting' pollicy to answere his lowd con-
science, but only this, ars dduditur artr : meaning that
it was lawfull for him to cousen the world, which
otherwise would have cousened him. Religious I
cannot call him: sacer I may call him justly: for
hee among the Romans was entitled sacer. who by
the people was generally condemned In health
he was like the nymph Echo mentioned in Ovid's
fables: for hee was alway deeply in love with his
owne pollic} r .... he and poyson have bene the most
assured friends and familiars. The faculties of his
soule are much indebted to the devill: for he hath
borrowed many darke inventions from his patterne:
he will not, in sicklies nor in health seeme careless
of religion, as if he wanted piety ; .... he will not
listen to his hearts meaning, when he shadowes hate
or piety with appearance .... he excells in three
properties: Wit, Sudden execution, and Envy: ....
No marvell though he be daunted when hee remem-
bers the next world, though in a staggering beleefe :
for b} r the warrent of potions, gloves, sallets, privy
stabbs, and false accusers, he hath sent so many
thither befor him, that hee may justly feare they
will sue an appeale against him But after
death his name growes old with being odious, like
that unfortunate Valerian, whose age was long, but
taedious and disgraceful."
"Essays and Char." ed. Halliwell 241.
John Taylor commenced his frequent citations of
Machiavelli, of whom he knew no more than the name; the
number of times this most popular writer refers to him is
significant of how certain a catch-word the mere name had
"The Atheist of the Scriptures can dispute,
That one would deemc him a Religious man :
The Temporizer to the Time will sute,
Although his Zeale be a MachivUKan."
Taylor's Urania (Spen. Soc. p. 3).
Now appeared also the play, mentioned by Steevens
"The Valiant Welshman' V) Caradoc, "who lived about the
yere of our Lord 70". In this wretched tragedy, palpably
imitated in part from Shakspere and Jonson, occurs this
Caradoc) "Tnriie thee, Usurper, Harpey of this Clime,
Ambitions villaine, damned homicide:
Monmouth) Fondling, thou speakest in too milde consonants,
Thy angry words cannot awake my spleene :
Thy Physicke will not worke: these names thou speak'st,
Fill up each spongy pore within my flesh,
With joy intolerable: and thy kind salutes
Of villany, and ambition, befits
The royall thoughts of Kings: Reade MachiaveU:
Princes that would aspire, must mocke at hell.
Carad.) Out, thou incarnate Devill: garde thee, slave:
Although thou fear'st not hell, He dig thy grave.
Monm.) Stay, Prince, take measure of me first.
Carad.) The Devill hath done that long ago." T, 3.
There are no less than three desperate villains intent
upon Caradoc's life: Monmouth, Codigune and Gloster. Of
the first we have heard: the other two are simply unex-
J ) "The Valiant Welshman, or The True Chronicle History of the
lif- and valiant deedes of Caradoc the Great, King of Cambria, now
Wales. Written by JJ. A. (lent, 1615" [2nd e d. 1663].
After Guinever is given to Caradoc: Codigune, alone,
''Now swels the wombe of my invention,
With some prodigious project, and my brayne
Italianates my barren faculties
To Machivilian blacknesse. Welshman, stand fast;
Or by these holy raptures that inspire
The soule of Polititians with revenge.
Black projects, deepe conceits, quaynt villainies,
I'll fall my selfe, or pluck this Welchman down.
Gloster, I know,
Is Natures master-piece of envious plots,
The Cabinet of all adulterate ill
Envy can hatch : with these I will beginne,
To make black envy Primate of each sin.
Now in the heate of all their revelling,
Hypochrisie, Time's best complexion
Smooth all my rugged thoughts, let them appeare
As Brothell sinnes benighted, darkely cleare.
Lend me thy face, good Janus, let mee looke
Just on Time's fashion, with a double face,
And clad my purpose in a Foxe's case."
All this about "envy, hypochrisy, the Foxe's case" etc.
had already been used in the drama satis superque. Gloster's
Machiavellianism consists also in what has been heard
"Discourse not what is done, nor how, nor when.
Oiiely King's wils are Lawes for other men." III. 1.
Codigune goes through the traditional stage villainy of
poisoning the king, having himself crowned, and seeking
to ruin his enemy (Caradoc in this case) by slander and
underhand murder: he is himself killed by Caradoc, of
Breton again comes to the front in 1616, accusing
Machiavelli of having affected the whole world.
Meyer, Machiavelli. 9
"What Mischiefe walkes among the minds of Men?
Will nothing- serve theyr discontented Wills?
Must they needs runne into the Devill's denne?
Are these the Scopes of Machivilian skills?
That all the Worlde, with his Infection fills?
Oh God, what Devill could in ill goe further?
Then Pride, in malice, practice hellish Murther?"
An Invective against Treason. Grosart I, 3.
Marston, who seems to have had some real respect for
Machiavelli, took occasion in his "Jack Drum's Entertain-
ment" to ridicule the political rant of the stage and its
supposed indebtedness to the "Father of politicians".
Sir Edward Fortune says of those always asking, "What
news at court": -
"0, I could burst
At the conjectures, fears, preventions,
And restless tumbling of our tossed brains !
Ye shall have me an empty cask that's furred
With naught but barmy froth, that never travelled
Beyond the confines of his mistress' lips,
Discourse as confidant of peace with Spain,
As if the genius of quick Machiavel
Usher'd his speech." x ) Simp. School of Sh. II, 136.
In Jonson's play, "The Devil is an Ass", the idea of
the devil being outwitted is the same as in Machiavelli's
"Belphegor"; but there is no direct borrowing.
In "The Honest Lawyer", a play by S. S., the fox-and-
lion maxim is reverted to en passant.
Vaster.} "By craft more then by strength, all theeves do rise,
Of many politicke knaves you cannot spie one,
The Foxe will have his prey before the Lion." II, 1.
This comes rather from Machiavelli than Plutarch.
x ) Of. Aphra Belm: "The Emperor of the Moon."
I, 1 (vol. IT, 195).
Elarid) "And so religiously believes there is a World there [in
the moon] that he [Dr. Baliardo] Discourses as gravely of the
People, the Government, Institutions, Laws, Manners, Religion,
and Constitution, as if he had been bred a Machiavel there.''
In the next year (1617) appeared another poem using
the scare-crow name as a catch-penny title. "Machiavell's
Dogge" resembles much the work before mentioned, "The
Uncasing of Machavel's Instructions", and, if not by the
same author, is certainly an open imitation of his poem even
to verbal coincidence. ') It is a general satire, contains
no supposed maxims, and only refers to the Florentine once
to make a double pun upon his name.
"Doest thou not see, except thou wilt be blinde,
How life hath lost the notes of nature's love:
And wisdome's wordes are helde but as a wind,
Where Machavilians matchless villaines prove,
And Tig-res, Foxes, Wolves, Owles, and Apes,
Beganne the world in shewes of humane shapes." Stanza 2.
In Beaumont and Fletcher's "The Loyal Subject",
Boroskie is called in the Dram. Pers. "a malicious seducing
Counsellor to the Duke"; he well upholds this character in
his vile persecutions of the noble Archas. His plan, by
which he has the duke entrap and seek to murder him at
the banquet (III, 5), as Archas calls it: -
"The Judas way, to kiss me, bid me welcome,
And cut my throat,"
is the same Machiavelli makes mention of as employed
by Oliverotto da Fermo. *) Boroskie plays, however, a very
insignificant part and does very little counselling.
"And thou do prove the proverbe often tolde,
A carelesse Courtier yong 1 , a Beggar olde." p. 7.
"No. thinke upon the Proverbe often tolde,
A carelesse Courtier young, a begger olde." Stanza 35.
>2 ) Cf. Prin. VIII.
In the next year (1619) Purchas used "Machiavelian
spirits" as synonymous with incarnate fiends.
"And even still whence doe our Labyrinthian Braines.
Machiavellian Spirits, Incarnate Fiends, learne their
SerpentineWindings, Hookes, Crookes, Protean Metamor-
phoses, malicious Subtilties, superfine Plots, Tricks,
Quicks, but from abused Learning? 1 ) Thus is Nature
abused to Atheisme." Microcos. 583.
Beaumont and Fletcher's play, "The False One", gave
birth to an arch- villain, Photinus; his counsels are Machia-
vellian, but may have come from Plutarch and the drama.
He is one who believes that: -
"What in a man sequester'd from the world,
Or in a private person, is preferred,
No policy allows of in a king:
To be or just or thankful, makes kings guilty."
This is the invariable policy of a Beaumont and Fletcher
counsellor; they always upheld the divine right of kings.
Then follows what certainly comes from Marlowe.
"The stars are not more distant from the earth
Than profit is from honesty: 2 ) all the power
Prerogative, and greatness of a prince
Is lost, if he descend but once to steer
His course, as what's right guides him: 3 ) Let him leave
The sceptre, that strives only to be good,
Since kingdoms are maintained by force and blood."
I, 1 (Barley 391).
') Of. Nashe, ante p. 56.
3 ) Cf. Phot) - "Bold ambition
To dare, and power to do, gave the first diiference
Between the king and subject." V, 2 (407).
These ideas are from the prologue to the "Jew of Malta".
3 ) This thought was expressed almost in the same words by Gen-
tillet (III, 27). B. and F. must certainly have had him before them.
Further on is a thought to be found in "Leicester's
Commonwealth", and also in the previous drama,
Sept.) "Services doiie
For such as only study their own ends,
Too great to be rewarded, are returned
With deadly hate: I learned this principle
In his [Photinus'] own school." V, 3 (408).
In the "Virgin Martyr" of this year (1620), Diocletian
mentions a maxim to be found in the "Principe"; but
Massinger may have had in mind the lines from Virgil,
which Machiavelli refers to.
"In all growing empires,
Even cruelty is useful: some must suffer
And be set up examples to strike terror
In others, though far off." 1 ) I, 1 (Dyce 3).
In the next year (1621) appeared Burton's "Anatomy
of Melancholy" : in it Machiavelli is reverted to no less than
ffl ? teen~times ; 2 ) usually, with perfect justness, but at times,
even this learned writer fell into the cant use. Thus, for
"Many politicians, I dare not deny, maintain Religion
as a true means, and sincerely speak of it without
hypochrisy, are truely zealous and religious them-
selves. Justice and Religion are the two chief props
and supporters of a well-governed common-wealth:
*) Cf. Prin. XVII: "E intra tutti i principi, al principe nuovo e
impossible fuggire il nome di crudele, per essere gli Stati nuovi pieni
di pericoli. Onde Virgilio per la bocca di Didone escusa I'mumanita
del suo regno per essere quello nuovo, dicendo:
Res dura, et regni novitas me talia cogunt
Moliri, et late fines custode tueri."
2 ) Vide A. of. M. ed. Shilleto-Bullen I, 100, 132, 217, 357: II, 140,
159, 162, 163: III, 120, 314, 378, 385, 425, 439, 445.
but most of them are but Machiavellians, counterfeits
only for political ends." Ill, 378 (Shilleto-Bullen).
Taylor again cited Machiavelli, adopting the money-
idea of Marlowe.
"If thou hast money thou canst want no wit.
Art thou a damned Matchivilliau,
Thy money makes thee held an honest man."
Travels of Twelvepence. Spenser Soc. p. 73.
According to Elze, this was the year of "Alphonsus
Emperor of Germany". This is the play in which Chapman
makes most use of Machiavellian principles, although the
Florentine statesman is not mentioned by name. Lorenzo,
the unscrupulous counsellor of Alphonsus, gives him several
maxims. l ) It must now be borne in mind that no Elizabethan
dramatist was so thoroughly cons^eryant with French writings
as Chapman was. The neglect of this consideration led
Ulrici to declare Lorenzo's maxims taken "fast wortlich aus
dem Principe' V) and so it appears prima facie: but on
closer observation it is perfectly evident, that the same
are not taken "fast wortlich" from the Principe but g a 11 z
wortlich from Gentillet. One test will be sufficient,
Lorenzo's first maxim runs thus: -
J ) Elze says : "The political state of the Interregnum of the 13th Cen-
tury, as described by the poet, bore a close resemblance to the anarchy
of the Thirty Years' War. The policy of Ferdinand II was based on
principles no less JVIacchiavellistic than those of Chapman's Alphonsus."
Ed. Elze 34.
' 2 ) "Es [Alphonsus] charakterisiert sich hinlanglich gleich durch
die erste Scene, in der Alphonsus sich von seinem gelehrten Secretair
die fast wortlich aus dem Principe entlehnten Grundsatze Machiavel-
listischer Staatskunst auseinaudersetzen lafst und sie wie ein Schliler
sich aufschreibt, aber unmittelbar darauf nicht nur den Zettel zerreisst,
sondern den Lehrer vergiftet, damit Niemand existire, der um seine
Plane und Absichten wisse, obwohl er sie dem Secretair noch gar
nicht enthiillt hatte !" Shak. Dram. Kunst. I, 320.
"1. A prince must be of the nature of the lion and
the fox, but not the one without the other." I, 1
(Shepherd 382). ')
"Essendo adunque un principe necessitate sapere
bene usare la bestia, debbe di quella pigliare la
volpe ed il leone; perche il leone non si difende dai
lacci, la volpe non si difende da' lupi. Bisogna
adunque essere volpe a conoscere i lacci, e lione a
sbigottire i lupi. Coloro che stanno semplicemente
in sul lione non se ne intendono." XVIII.
"Le Prince doit ensuyure la nature du Lyon, et du
Renard: non Fun sans 1'autre." 384.
Patericke translates :
"A prince ought to follow the nature of the Lyon
and of the Fox, yet not of the one without the other."
Certainly no more proof is necessary. Chapman drew
from Gentillet. The other five maxims are as follows:
"2. A prince above all things must seem devout; but
there's nothing so dangerous to his state, as to regard
his promise and his oath." 2 )
"3. Trust not a reconciled friend, for good turns
cannot blot out old grudges." 3 J
J ) Alphonsus answers:
"The fox is subtle, but he wanteth force;
The lion strong, but scorneth policy.
I'll imitate Lysander in this point,
And where the lion's hide is thin and scant,
I'll firmly patch it with the foxes fell."
Thus Machiavelli' s famous maxim immediately called to mind in
Chapman, Plutarch, which Greene had also used.
2 ) Cf. Gentillet II, 1 and III, 21. Also Prin. 18: Discorsi III, 42.
3 ) Cf. Gent. Ill, 6. Also Prin. 7: Discorsi III, 4: 1st. Fior. IV
(217). Lee puts it thus in "Caesar Borgia" : -
Mach.} "None ought to offend his Prince, and after trust him."
II, 1 (op. cit. 27).
"4. Tis more safety for a prince to be feared
than loved." 3 )
"5. To keep an usurped crown, a prince must swear,
forswear, poison, murder, and commit all kinds of
villainies, provided it be cunningly kept from the
eye of the world. 2 )
In this "poison, murder, and all kinds of villainies",
the influence of Marlowe and the drama is plainly visible.
"6. Be always jealous of him that knows your secrets. 3 )
And therefore it behoves you credit few,
And when you grow into the least suspect,
With silent cunning must you cut them off."
This last is not to be found exactly as stated either
in Machiavelli or Gentillet, but must have been perverted
by the dramatists from Principe 23. We have had this, as
all other of these maxims, in the drama before Chapman. *)
It is almost needless to say, Alphonsus follows all these
*) Cf. Gent. Ill, 9. Also Prin. 17: Disc. Ill, 21: 1st. Fior. 11(130).
After this Alphonsus says: -
"Love is an humour pleaseth him that loves;
Let me be hated, so I please myself.
Love is an humour mild and changeable,
But fear engraves a reverence in the heart."
Gentillet says: -
Les homines (dit nostre Florentin) aiment comme il leur plait, et
craignent comme il plait au Prince." Op. cit. 375.
"Conclude adunque, tornando all' esser temuto et arnato, che
amando gli uomini a posta loro, et temendo a posta del prin-
cipe, deve un principe savio fondarsi in su quello che e suo,
non in su quello che e d'altri."
It is perfectly evident Chapman had Gentillet and not Machiavelli
2 ) Cf. Gent. Ill, 18: also Prin. 18: Disc. II, 13: 1st. Fior. 3 (147).
) Cf. Gent. I, 2. Also Prin. 23.
4 ) After Lorenzo dictates these maxims, Alphonsus kills him with
his own poison just as Meudoza attempted to do to Malevole in Mars-
maxims: he uses force and craft; he never keeps faith; he
is always suspicious of the Palatine, and Saxony, having
wronged them; he swears, forswears, poisons, murders etc.,
and he immediately kills Lorenzo because he knows his
master's secrets. To analyse this well-known play 1 ) is
beyond the scope of the present essay: suffice it to state,
that, following these six principles, Alphonsus gives birth
to one of the most monstrous abortions of crime the human
mind ever conceived.
Once more in Chapman a reminiscence of Machiavelli-
Gentillet is to be found: in "Chabot, Admiral of France": -
Chan.} "Seeming has better fortune to attend it,
Than being sound at heart and virtuous." 2 ) IV, 1 (539).
This is the only place, however, where the crafty
chancellor shows any Machiavellianism. In Beaumont and
Fletcher's "The Prophetess" of this year there is a thought,
taken directly from the Principe.
Aurelia to Maximinian, who has been made Co-
Emperor by Diocletian and is ambitious to gain
entire control from Charinus, Diocletian having
"Hath not your uncle Dioclesian taken
His last farewell o' the world? What then can shake you?"
Max) "The thought I may be shaken, and assurance
That what we do possess is not our own,
But has depending on anothers favour:
For nothing's more uncertain, my Aurelia,
Than power that stands not on his proper basis,
But borrows his foundation." 3 ) V, 1 (Barley 19).
l ) Elze thought Pater Larmormain the prototype of Lorenzo
(Alphon. 34), but as Ward says, "the likeness ... is little more than
what might be traced in half the Macchiavellian counsellors who were
a standing figure of the Elizabethan stage." Cf. Ward II, 19.
3 ) Cf. Prin. 18.
3 ) Cf. Prin. 7 and 14.
In another play, "The Beggar's Bush", the cant
Machiavellianism of the drama is used, and Plutarch-Machia-
velli cited. Hempskirke is the villain of the play, who has
set up "Wolfort, usurper of the Earldom of Flanders", as
"Raised to it by cunning-, circumvention, force,
Blood, and proscriptions." I, 2 (Darley 209).
To accomplish this he -
"Killed all that made resistance, cut in pieces
Such as were servants, or thought friends to Gerard
Vowing- the like to him." Ill, 1 (218).
Hempskirke, after laying a treacherous plot to have
Goswin (Florez) killed, who had wounded him, says: -
"Thus wise men
Eepair the hurts they take by a disgrace,
And piece the lion's skin with the fox's case."
In Massinger's "The Duke of Milan", probably of the
year 1623, one of the Machiavellian maxims is mentioned
as an "old saw", - - so familiar had it become.
Fran.) - "and, in spite
Of the old saw, that says, it is not safe
On any terms to trust a man that's wronged,
I dare thee to be false." IV, 1 (Mermaid 67).
In the same play occurs another thought to be found
in the Principe, but it might also have been dubbed an
"old saw" in the drama.
"Dangers, that we see
To threaten ruin, are with ease prevented:
But those strike deadly, that come unexpected." I, 1 (7).
On the strength of these two passages, the one before
given from "The Virgin Martyr", and another to be found
in "A New Way to Pay Old Debts", it is to be presumed
Massinger was acquainted with Machiavelli , though he
never mentions him.
Taylor in the next year (1624) again used the popular
"Nor is it a Shepheard's trade, by night or day
To swear themselves in debt, and never pay.
Hee's no state-plotting Machivilian
Or Project-monger Mouopolitan."
Taylors Pastoral. (Spen. Soc. 261.)
In this year appeared Middleton's strange play, "A
Game at Chess". Probably the most unpopular man in all
England towards the close of James' I reign was poor
Gondomar. The Spanish Ambassador was looked upon as
the very incarnation of hypocrisy and deceit: if we were
to think of what men would be dubbed "Machiavels" by
popular opinion at this time, Gondomar would certainly be
the first one thought of. Such was the case:
White Kt. shoving Black Kt. (Gondomar) into the bag:)
"Room for the mightiest Machiavel-politician
That e'er the devil hatch'd of a nun's egg."
V. 3 (Bullen IV, 134).
And he confesses himself as such:
B. Kt.} "My Pawn! How now, the news?
Pawn} Expect none very pleasing
That comes, sir, of my bringing : I'm for sad things.
B. Kt} Thy conscience is so tender-hoof'd of late,
Every nail pricks it.
Pawn.} This may prick yours too,
If there be any quick flesh in a yard on't,
B. Kt.} Mine?
Mischief must find a deep nail, and a driver
Beyond the strength of any Machiavel
The politic kingdoms fatten, to reach mine.
Prithee, compunction needle-prick'd a little
Unbind this sore wound.
Pawn.) Sir, your plot's discover'd.
B. Kt.) Which of the twenty thousand and nine hundred
Four score and five? Canst tell!" Ill, 1 (65).
His villainy consists as he himself says, in having -
- ''betrayed the White House to the Black,
Beggar'd a kingdom by dissimulation,
Unjointed the fair frame of peace and traffic,
Poison'd allegiance, set faith back" IV, 2 (95).
One point of this play was imitated from Marlowe:
Middleton, not inappropriately, brought Loyola onto the stage
to give the induction to the "Game at Chess", just as the
elder dramatist did Machiavelli to prologue his "Jew of
Middleton was familiar with Machiavelli's writings:
with the "Istoria Fiorentina" at least. l ) In another play
occurs the same citation of Plutarch's Lysander, so often
confounded with Principe 18.
Mrs. Knavesby.) "Best soldiers use policy: the lion's skin
Becomes the body not when 'tis too great,
But then the fox's may sit close and neat."
"Anything for a Quiet Life" III, 1 (Bullen V, 291).
Fletcher and Rowley's play of the year 1625, "The
Bloody Brother", shows a knowledge of Machiavelli's works.
Latorch is "Rollo's Earwig" : Rollo tells him to make away
with his brother Otto.
"Make him appear first dangerous, then odious;
And after, under pretence of safety
') The plot of "The Witch" is taken from the same through
Belleforest, but so changed as to be more adaptable for the stage, the
Queen retaining her purity and the King his life. "Almachildis" is the
only name directly borrowed.
Davenant (1629) and William Phillips (1698) both drew from this
history. See Hazl. Manual 6 and 193.
For the sick state, the land's and people's quiet.
Cut off his head." ) I, 1 (Darley 519).
This is the method, which Machiavelli recommends in
Caesar Borgia's practice. Latorch says to Aubrey: -
"Your counsels coulor not with reason of state,
Where all that's necessary still is just.
The actions of the prince, while they succeed,
Should be made good and glorified, not questioned." 2 )
IV, 1 (530).
Aubrey denounces him as one, -
"That creepst within thy master's ear, and whisperst
'Tis better for him to be feared than loved;
Biddst him trust no man's friendship, spare no blood
That may secure him: 'tis no cruelty
That hath a specious end: for sovereignty
Break all the laws of kind: if it succeed
An honest, noble, and praiseworthy deed." IV, 1 (531).
This is merely the stereotyped Machiavellianism of the
drama. Latorch is a murderer, poisoner, hypocrite, - - all
that is apposite to an unconscionable villain. 3 )
Aubrey, standing amidst the corpses at the end, cries
out to Latorch, as if Fletcher himself was thundering his
condemnation upon Machiavelli: -
"Behold the justice of thy practice, villain;
The mass of murders thou hast drawn upon us ;
Behold thy doctrine!" V, 2 (539).
In another play by Fletcher about this time, "The Chan-
ces", we find: -
Don J.) "Dost thou think
The devil such an ass as people make him?
Such a poor coxcomb? such a penny foot-post?
l ] Ante 24 note 2.
2 ) Of. Prin. 18.
3 ) He has one trait of Ateukin: he pretends to use astrology.
Compelled with cross and pile to run of errands?
With Asteroth, and Behemoth, and Belphag-or?"
This probably refers to Dekker's play "Belphegor",
founded on Machiavelli's novelette; just as, "the devil an
ass", is a reminiscence of Jonson.
f The drama for the next five years seems utterly to
disregard Machiavelli, and even popular literature becomes
almost taciturn on the subject: the incessant citation had
naturally a palling effect. Breton now closed his long list
of references by reverting again to the wealth idea , J ) in-
troduced by Marlowe, and took leave of the Florentine in
hell as the devil's boon companion and counterpart,
"Winter: Cards and Dice now begin their harvest,
and good Ale and sack are the cause of civill warres :
Machiavel 2 ) and the Devill are in counsell for de-
struction, and the wicked of the world make hast to
hell." "Fantasticks." Grosart II, 7.
He may have had in mind Daborne's lost play "Match-
evil and the Devil".
John Earle in his "Micro-Cosmographie" (1628) ridiculed
the would-be politicians, who were always referring to
Machiavelli , 3 ) and gave a picture drawn with some power
J ) "Who doth not see what villanies are wrought,
To gather wealth, the ground of wickednesse:
How many scholers Machavell hath taught,
To fill the earth with all ungodlinesse :
While Witte doth onely worke for wealthinesse.
Who lives in ehbs, and may let in the floods,
But will betray his father for his goods?"
"Pasquile's Mad-Cappe.' ? Grosart I. 8.
2 ) Grosart remarks: " Machiavel: long a synonym for (almost) Satan
himself." Ibid. p. 16.
3 ) "A too idly reserved Man Is one that is a foole withjdiscretion :
or a strange piece of Politician, that manages the state of himselfe. His
of what he considered a real "Machiavel", in whose traits
Barabas and Richard III are plainly visible.
"The Worlds wise. Man - - Is an able and sufficient
wicked man, it is a proofe of his sufficiency that
hee is not called wicked, but wise. A man wholy
determined in himselfe and his owne ends, and his
instrument:: herein anything that will doe it. His
friends are a part of his engines, and as they serve
his worke, us'd or laid by. In deed hee knows not
this thing of friend, but if hee give you the name,
it is a signe he ha's a plot on you. Never more ac-
tive in his businesses, then when they are mixt with
some harm to others : and 'tis best plaj^ in this Game
to strike off and lie in place. Successfull commonly
in these undertakings, because hee passeth smoothly
those rubs which others stumble at, as Conscience
and the like: and gratulates himself much in this
advantage: Oathes and falsehoods he counts the
neerest way, and loves not by any meanes to goe
about. Hee has many fine quips at this folly of plaine
dealing, but his tush is greatest at Religion, yet hee
uses this too, and Vertue, and good Words, but is
less dangerously a Devil than a Saint. Hee ascribes
all Honestie to an unpractis'dnesse in the World : and
Conscience to a thing merely for Children. Hee scorns
all that are so silly to trust him , and onely not scornes
his enemie : especially if as bad as himselfe : He feares
him as a man well arm'd, and provided, but sets boldly
on good natures, as the most vanquishable. One that
Actions are his Privie Counsell, wherein no man must partake beside.
He speakes under rule and prescription, and dare not shew his teeth
without Machiavdl. He converses with his neigbours as hee woulde
in Spaine, and feares an inquisitive man as much as the Inquisition. . . .
Hee ha's beene long a riddle himselfe, but at last finds Oedipusses : for
his over-acted dissimulation discovers him, and men doe with him as
they would with Hebrew letter, spell him backwards, and read him."
Arber, E. R. No. 12, p. 34.
seriously admires those worst Princes as Sforza,
and Richard the Third: and calls matters of deepe
villainy things of difficultie. To whom murders are
but resolute Acts, and Treason a businesse of great
consequence. One whom two or three Countries
make up to this compleatnesse , and he ha's travel'd
for the purpose. His deepest indearment is a com-
munication of mischiefe, and then onely you have him
fast. His conclusion is commonly one of these two,
either a great Man, or hang'd." Arber p. 60.
Grosart says in his introduction to Sir J. Eliot, "The
evil designes of men who had poisoned the ears of princes
with a jealousy of parliaments, are exposed; and some of
the doctrines of Machiavel are held up to scorn." 1 ) Eliot
recurs to two maxims, both of which have already appeared; 2 )
he also cites "Patter contra Machiavel". 3 )
Sir Robert Naunton, Master of the court of Wards
took occasion in his "Fragmenta Regalia" to call attention
J ) Eliot ed. Grosart I, 155.
2 ) "They [ambitious senators] infuse that jealousy into Princes,
as the danger of unsecresie, feare of circumvention, trouble of divisions
with their consequents, and the like, taken from Machavell and others
of that Leven." "Monarchic of Man" Gros. II, 75.
"Subjects should be kept in affection to their Soveraignes; to
which end our lawes laie all faults and errors in the ministers, that
uoe displeasure may reflect upon the K. and soe Seneca does intimat,
regem debere solum prodesse nocere non sine pluribus, and Machiavell
that great master in his art, who was most indulgent unto princes,
and sought to advance all tyrannic, yet in this directs that they should
disperse curtesies onlie by themselves and leave injuries and punish-
ments to others, which was also insinuated by the Antieuts in their
fictions of Jupiter giving his thunders from the heavens whom they
make fulmen suum placabile solum mittere pernitiosum aliis tradcre.
that which was pleasant was his owne, that which was distastfull came
by others." "Apol. for Soc." Gros. II, 123.
3 ) 'Tatter contra Macciav. si tu le veux. tu le peux, as the
Frenchman has it in his writing against Machiavell."
Moii. of Man. Gros. II, 61.
to the fact, that Leicester had been read in Machiavelli,
which Father Parsons had long before proclaimed.
"To take him in the observations of his Letters and
Writings (which should best set him off) for such
as fell into my hands, I never yet saw a style or
phrase more seeming religious, and fuller of the streams
of devotion : and were they not sincere, I doubt much
of his well-being; and I may fear he was too well
seen in the Aphorism es and principles of Nicholas the
Florentine, and in the reaches of Caesar Borgia."
Arber, E. R. No. 20. p. 29.
In Dekker's "Honest Whore" part 2, the author seems
to have had his own "Belphegor" in mind when giving
Orlando these words: -
"I had rather hang in a woman's company, than in
a man's; because if we should go to hell together,
I should scarce be letten in, for all the devils are
afraid to have any women come amongst them."
V, 2 (Merm. 274).
In a book of the next year (1631) called "The Whim-
zies", by Eichard Braithwaite (?) Machiavel's writings and
maxims are spoken of as very ambiguous:
"The Jayler - - Now some againe will object that he
is a subtile Macchiavel, and loves to walke in the
cloudes, because hee never resolves those with whom
hee deales, but fils them full of doubts, and in the
end ever leaves them in suspence." Ed. Halliwell p. 50.
After all that had been brought forward as Machia-
velli's teachings, and the generally confused ideas regarding
him and his supposed followers, this remark seems very
In Shirley's play "The Traitor" one of the characters
is called Lorenzo de' Medici: the author seems to have
Machiavelli once in mind. One thought, at least, is to be
found in the Principe:
Meyer, Machiavelli. 10
Lorenzo) " Tis policy in princes to create
A favourite, who must bear all the guilt
Of things ill managed in the state: if any
Design be happy, 'tis the prince's own."
II, 1 (Giif.-Dyce II, 114).
But this may have been only a dramatic reminiscence 1 )
in the last of the Elizabethans, as another passage
Lorenzo) "Some Politician,
That is not wise but by a precedent,
Would think me weak for using such an instrument
As this Depazzi : but I know by proof,
Such men whom fear and honour make our creatures,
Do prove safe engines: fools will still obey
When cunning knaves our confidence betray." 2 ) IV, 1 (155).
In 1632 Taylor gave the Belphegor legend 3 ) a most
remarkable turn ; having the devil outwit the women instead
J ) Shirley also continues the stage tradition of associating his
villain with the devil.
Sciar. to Lor.) "the devil does
Acknowledge thee on earth the greater mischief,
And has a fear, when thou art dead, he shall not
Be safe in hell." II, 1 (150).
a ) Of. Marston: ante 74.
3 ) "Onely at Minis, a Cockney boasting bragger
In mirth, did aske the women for Belfwagger.
But strait the females like the Furies fell,
Did curse, scold, raile, cast dirt, and stones pell inell,
But we betook us nimbly to our spurs
And left them calling us rogues, Knaves, and curs,
With other pretty names, which I discern'd
They from their old fore-mothers well had learn'd.
The reason why they are with rage inflani'd.
When as they heare Belfwagger nam'd,
Is (as report doth say) there dwelt a Squire,
Who was so full of love, (or lust's desire)
That with his faire tongue, Hippocritick-hood,
By slanderous people 'twas misunderstood)
of being driven into despair by one. It has been impossible
to find any authority for the Waterpoet's version; perhaps
it was his own concoction.
In his "Magnetic Lady" Jonson again sneered at, and
undertook to ridicule the Machiavellian counsellor so long
the demon of the stage. In the Dramatis Personae Bias
is called "a vi-politic, or sub-secretary". Compass says of
Or a sub-aiding instrument of state" I, 1 (Gilford II, 401).
and Sir Moth introduces him to Lady Loadstone thus:
"I have brought you here the very man, the jewel
Of all the court, close Master Bias, sister!
Apply him to your side: or you may wear him
Here on your breast, or hang him in your ear,
He's a fit pendant for a lady's tip!
A chrysolite, a gem, the very agate
Of state and policy, cut from the quar
Of Machiavel; a true Cornelian
As Tacitus himself, and to be made
The brooch to any true state-cap in Europe!" I, 1 (401).
But he proves, of course, a caricature, being a mere
puppet in Sir Moth's hands. Like Ateukin, he is dismayed
immediately his position becomes a little dangerous. *)
In the next year (1633) Bishop Morton referred to
the old idea of atheism being Machiavellian : he speaks of
The women were so fruitfull, that they were
All got with childe, in compasse of one yeare,
And that Squire's name, they say, Belfwagger was,
And from that tale, the lying jeere doth passe,
Wherefore the women there will chide and swagger,
If any man do aske them for Belfwagger."
"News from Hell, Hull, Halifax." Spen. Soc. p. 1.
') Bias.} "Would I were at my shop again,
In court, safe stowed up with my politic bundles."
II, I (409).
"a most barberous fellow, using Machiavelian atheism".
After a complete silence regarding the Florentine in
the drama of nearly eight years, Heywood revived and
edited Marlowe's "Jew of Malta". In the prologue to the
court he wrote:
- "you shall find him still,
In all his projects, a sound Machiavill;
And that's his character." (Dyce 142).
Thus, after forty-five years, Heywood could still believe
this awful caricature a "sound Machiavil". The play again
called forth a host of references to the Florentine: but,
whereas half a century before he was mentioned only with
fear and trembling, his name now became in dramatic
literature, after the immediate effect of Marlowe upon
Massinger and Heywood, an object for general ridicule.
In "A New Way to Pay Old Debts" Lady Allworth
Sir Giles, that's both a lion and a fox
In his proceeding's, were a work beyond
The strongest undertakers." V, I (Merm. I, 187).
This certainly refers to the "Principe" 18 already in
the drama. No doubt, for the moment Massinger's great
usurer was considered as sound a Machiavel as Marlowe's
was; ') but, as we have seen, this usury-idea had been
') A certain similarity , unnoticed by critics , exists between
Barabas and Sir Giles: besides being great usurers, each employs his
daughter as a decoy, the latter proving himself more inhuman therein
than the former, for Barabas says to Abigail: -
"Entertain Lodowick, the governor's son,
With all the courtesy you can aiford,
Provided that you keep your maiden-head."
II (Dyce 158).
fathered upon the Florentine by the elder dramatist under
the influence of Gentillet. Not without a thought of the
once popular prejudice, did Massinger ] ) term his Machia-
vellian an atheist:
When Sir Giles goes crazy at the end, Lovell says :
"Here is a precedent to teach wicked men,
That when they leave religion, and turn atheists
Their own abilities leave them." V, 1 (201).
In 1634 William Habington referred en passant to the
Florentine, introducing the name into an heroic couplet
as Heywood had just done.
"The crosse or prosperous fate of Princes, they [courtiers)
Ascribe to rashnesse, cunning-, or delay:
And on each action comment, with more skill
Then upon Livy, did old Machavill."
Castara: E. R. 22 p. 96.
Every one must have been struck by Sir Giles' damnable words
to Margaret: -
"Virgin me no virgins ;
I must have you lose that name, or you lose me.
Give me but proof he has enjoyed thy person." Ill, 2 (158).
*) Ford, strangely associated with Massinger, seems to have known
nothing of Machiavelli: he was the most independent of all the
dramatists; as he says in the prologue to "The Fancies Chaste and
Noble," there is in him
"Nothing, but what our author knows his own
Without a learned theft." Coleridge. 123.
Of Perkin Warbeck he expressly notes : -
"Famous, and true: most noble, 'cause our own;
Not forged from Italy, from France, from Spain, "
In "Love's Sacrifice" mention is made of Dante, Petrarch, Sannaz-
zaro, Ariosto, and Michael Angelo; but Machiavelli remained utterly
unnoticed by Ford.
Sandys used the term as was so often done as a syno-
nym for hypocrite. 1 )
Heywood himself naturally felt the effect upon the
drama of Marlowe's revived play. In "A Mayden-Head
Well Lost" we find: -
(Stroza in Florence fearing the Prince knows Julia's
"All goes not well, This iugling will be found,
Then where am I? would I were safe in Millaine.
Here Matchiuell thou wast hatcht: Could not the same
Planet inspire this pate of mine with some
Eare stratagem, worthy a lasting character;
No, 'twill not be: my braine is at a non-plus,
For I am dull." IV (Vol. IV p. 146).
And indeed Stroza is as "dull" a villain as ever trod
the boards : the extent of his stratagems is, as he saj r s to
"I falsely stuft thy head with Jealousies,
And for some private ends of my revenge,
Disgrac'd the Generall, and set odds betwixt
Lauretta and the Princesse: All these mischiefes
Proceed from my suggestions." IV. (161).
The only Machiavellian traits in him are his egoism,
Stroza.) "Let Millions fall, so I bee crown'd with rest" IV. (151).
and the device he uses to bring the General into disgrace,
and thus ruin him.
But good, old, sentimental Tom's hand must have trem-
bled, when he had screwed his courage up tight enough
even to write the name "Matchivell"; and he could not
find it in his dear warm heart to let even his most ardent
! ) "Subtle Machiavelians, and those which are frequently called
the prudent." Essays p. 46.
attempt at a villain go to ruin, and so Stroza is made to
repent : J )
Stroza.) (when all ends happily)
"Who would strive,
To bee a villaine, when the good thus thrive?" V. (164).
Jonson in his last days sought to adapt his know-
ledge of Machiavelli to his professional labours. The torso
of ".The Fall of Mortimer" certainly contains passages,
which show the direct influence of the "Principe", though
Jonson must also have had Marlowe's Edward II in mind.
Mor.) "There is a fate that flies with towering spirits
Home to the mark, and never checks at conscience.
Poor plodding 1 priests, and preaching friars may make
Their hollow pulpits, and the empty iles
Of churches ring with that round word : but we
That draw the subtile and more piercing air
* In that sublimed region of a court,
Know all is good we make so; and go on
Secured by the prosperity of our crimes." (Vol. II, p. 514.)
This is but general Machiavellianism; more specific
is this: -
,,But I, who am no common-council-man,
Knew injuries of that dark nature done
Were to be throughly done, and not be left
To fear of a revenge: they are light offences
Which admit that: the great ones get above it.
Man doth not nurse a deadlier piece of folly
To his high temper and brave soul, than that
Of fancying goodness, and a scale to live by
So differing from man's life." 2 ) Ibid.
') In another play, "The Rape of Lucrece", Hey wood used a maxim
already in the drama:
Tullia.) (to Tarquin).
"Since you gain nothing by the popular love,
Maintain by fear your princedom." II, 3 (Merm. 354).
2 ) Cf. Prin. 3, as before.
and again: -
"I should think
When 'mongst a world of bad, none can be good
(I mean so absolutely good and perfect
As our religious confessors would have us) :
It is enough we do decline the rumour
Of doing monstrous things. And yet, if those
Were of emolument unto our ends,
Even of those the wise man will make friends,
For all the brand, and safely do the ill,
As usurers rob, or our physicians kill." *) Ibid.
In 1636 appeared Dacre's translation of the "Discorsi" ;
the work is of careful, scholarly sort, and dedicated to
James, Duke of Lennox. No doubt, it was wide read.
In the next year 1637 Thomas Nabbes in his ,.Hicro-
cosmus" made the time-honored citation of "Machiavelism"
for all cunning; but with a tinge of contempt.
Melancholy.) "Not so hot, good Choler. I am partaking,
and as discontented at this match [of Physander and
Bellanima] as envie can make me. I could hatch a
conspiracy to sever them, should cause posterity
attribute all Matchiavillianisme to Melancholy."
II (Bullen II, 181).
In a tract of the year 1638 *), "Killing No Murder"
by W. A. and addressed to Cromwell, King Charles is
accused, as we have seen Leicester was, of acting under
Machiavelli's instructions. a
J ) Cf. Prin. XV as before.
2 ) Reprinted 1689.
*) "Now in this delineation which I intend to make of a tyrant,
all the lineaments, all the colours will be found so naturally to
correspond with the life, that it cannot but be doubted, whether his
highness be the original or the copy: whether I have, in drawing the
The drama now shows extensively a revived interest
in Machiavelli, but his name is no longer feared and soon
we find it ridiculed on all sides. Jasper Mayne made a
very merry use of it in "The City Match".
Sale.) "You must think a fish like this
May be taught Machiavel, *) and made a state-fish."
Ill, 2 (Dods. 13, 254).
This is said of Timothy Seathrift, whom Captain Quart-
field is exhibiting, as "The man-fish an ocean Centaur".-)
Thomas Randolf also cited Machiavelli in the jesting
Chann.) "I'll evidently demonstrate, that of all men
Your carpenters are your best statesmen: of all carpenters
I, being- the best, am best of statesmen too.
Imagine, sir, the commonwealth a log
tyrant, represented him; or in representing him expressed a tyrant:
and therefore, lest I be expected to deal unsincerely with his highness,
and not to have applied these following characters, but made them. I
shall not give you any of my own stamping, but such as I find in Plato,
Aristotle, Tacitus, and his highness's own evangelist, Machiavel."
Har. Misc. IX, 284.
In the construction of his tyrant Tacitus and Machiavelli get
much the better of Plato and Aristotle; the Florentine seems, indeed,
to have been carefully studied. One example will suffice. "2. Tyrants
accomplish their ends much more by fraud than force: neither virtue
nor force, says Machiavel, are so necessary to that purpose, as una
astutia fortunata, a lucky craft: which, says he, without force has been
often found sufficient, but never force without that. And in another
place he tells us, their way is Aggirare i cervelli di gli huomini con
astutia, etc. With cunning plausible pretences to impose upon men's
understandings, and in the end they master those that had so little as
to rely upon their faith and integrity." Ibid. 290.
*) Planche in his excellent "Merchant's Wedding", an amalgamation
of this play and Kowley's "Match at Midnight", makes much of this
scene, but omits these two lines, since the point would be lost on a
2 ) Cf. Southerns "The Disappointment" III, 1 (I, 109)
Alberto) to Clara, commending her subtle licentiousness.
"The policy is true Machiavel, i' faith, on your sides"
Or a rude block of wood: your statesman comes
(For by that word I mean a carpenter)
And with the saw of policy divides it
Into so many boards or several orders -
Some he carves with titles
Of lord, or knight, or gentleman: some stand plain,
And serve us more for use than ornament:
We call them yeomen (boards now out of fashion):
And, lest the disproportion break the frame,
He with the pegs of amity and concord
As with the glue-pot of good government,
Joints 'em together: makes an absolute edifice
Of the republic. State-skill'd Machiavel
Was certainly a carpenter."
"The Muses Looking glass" III, 2 (Haz. I, 221).
He likewise satirizes the manner in which would-be
politicians had always been citing their pretended authority.
,,Evion.) One that, out of an itch to be thought modest, dissembles his
I could, perchance,
Discourse from Adam downward, but what's that
To history? All that I know is only
Th'original, continuance, height, and alteration
Of every commonwealth. I have read nothing
But Plutarch, Livy, Tacitus, Suetonius,
Appian, Dion, Julius, Paterculus.
For modern, I
Have all without the book. Gallo-Bellicus,
Philip de Comines, Machiayel, ') Guicciardine,
Of. 1 Duchess of Newcastle: "The Social Companions"
II, 1 (12).
Fullwit.) "I am reading Plutarch's Lives, Thucydides, Machia-
vel, Commincus etc."
Foote: "The Devil upon Two Sticks"
1, 1 (Mod. Brit, Dram. V, 378).
Mary.} "But had you, with me, traced things to their original
source ; . . . . had you read Machiavel , Montesquieu, Locke,
In the Greek I have a smack or so, at
Xenophon, Herodotus, Thucydides, and
Stowes Chronicle." Ill, 4 (233).
In another play about this time Randolf again made
a facetious reference to Machiavelli.
Ditaeiis.) "You [Poverty] can give us field-beds, with
heaven for our canopy, and some charitable stones
for our pillows. We need not expect the felicity of
a horse, to lie at rack and manger; but yet our
asses and we must be content with the same pro-
vender. No roast-beef, no shoulder of mutton, no
cheese-cakes, no Machiavillian Florentines." J )
"Hey for Honesty" II, 5 (Haz. II, 422).
Shirley also took occasion to use the name as a term
of ridiculous contempt in "The Royal Master". Montalto, a
clumsy villain, denies to the Duke he had defamed
Dnke.) "Dear Machiavel!
This will not do : the king shall know your stratagems"
IV, 1 (Giff.-Dyce 163).
Montalto is somewhat of a parody on the Machia-
vellian; Octavio calls him:
Our Protean favourite". I, 1 (110).
He tries to be a dissembler and an egoist, 2 ) but is
detected at every point. His Machiavellianism consists in
the time-honored, "delays are fatal", and in the use of
Bacon, Hobbes [etc , etc.] you would have known
is a free agent."
*) Nares Glossary ed. Halliwell- Wright p. 317 says : "Florentine
a kind of pie .... meat baked in a pie." Of. Beaumont and Fletcher's
"Woman Hater" X, 1: "custards, tarts, and Florentines."
2 ) Mont.} - "though I thus disguise
My face and tongue, my heart is my own friend,
And cannot wish my ambition supplanted
By any smooth chinn'd prince alive." I, 1 (107).
poison, 1 ) which he would make; both .of these traits are
parodied, for he never acts, but invariably spoils all by
procrastination, and does not know how to use poison
when he wishes to.
In the next year, 1639, Junius made the old cant
As our Saviour said, to forewarn all revolters,
"Remember Lot's wife!" so say I, to forewarn all
arch-politicians, and cunning Mat-It iardians of this
world, Remember poor Naboth's vineyard !
"Sin Stigmat." p. 626. apud Johnson-Todd.
In Shirley's "The Politician", Gotharus is an uncon-
scionable villain, 2 ) and gives the king one of the old
dramatic 1 Machiavellian advices.
Goth.) ,,He that aspires hath no religion
He knows no kindred." Ill, 1.
Glapthorne in his "Wit in a Constable" speakes of
"Aretines Politicks": 3 ) since L'Unico never wrote any such
work, this was probably intended for a facetious catch,
like Sylvester's "Mach-Aretine". In Freeman's "Imperiale",
the dastard Spinola exclaims: -
- "all wickednesse
Is counted vertue, when 'tis prosperous".
but this may have been self-observation or a reminiscence.
') Mont.} "There's none but Philoberto conscious
To my last accusation of the princess;
Then he must be remov'd: delays are fatal;
I'll poison him tonight, I have the way." IV, 1 (160).
') Goth.} "Let weak statesmen think of conscience,
I am armed against a thousand stings, and laugh at
The tales of hell, and other worlds." I, 1.
3 ) Op. cit. I, 1 (Pearson I, 173).
Dacres' version of the Principe appeared in 1640, *)
but it had little or no influence upon the popular prejudice
so firmly established: even the translator himself felt it
incumbent upon him to excuse the book on the old poison-
theory, 2 ) so prevalent during* the period. But, never the
less, this work could not check the tendency to ridicule
already well under way in the drama. Habington again
referred to the Florentine, not as 'before with respectful
a\v.e, but rather with indifference, in his play, "The
Queen of Arragon".
"First for the plot, it's no way intricate
By cross deceits in love, nor so high in state,
That we might have given out in our playbill,
This day's "The Prince", writ by Nick Machiavil.
No virgin here in breeches casts a mist
Before her lover's eyes : . . . .
The language too is easy, such as fell
Unstudied from his pen: not like a spell
Big with mysterious words, such as enchant
The half-witted and confound the ignorant."
Prologue. Dods. XIII, 327.
This irreverent language shows that the old stage
traditions, Machiavelli, Tamburlaine's "high astounding
terms", even Viola and Belphoebe were passing away.
J ) Ante, p. 2.
~) "Poysons are not all of that malignant and noxious quality,
that, as destructives of Nature, they are utterly to be abhored : but we
find many, nay most of them have their medicinal uses. This book
carryes its poyson and malice in it : yet mee thinks the judicious peruser
may honestly make use of it in the actions of his life, with advantage."
Preface to Duke of Lennox.
Dacres 7 "animadversions" are very few, and consist of citations
from the Bible, with one exception, where he opposes to Machiavelli's
principle of not holding faith, Charles' V famous words in protecting
Luther, when urged to break his promise "Fides rerum promissarum, et
si toto mundo exulet, tamen apud imperatorem earn consistere oportet."
As a direct outgrowth of Dacres' translation, however,
may be viewed Rawlins' feeble effort to resuscitate the old
scare-crow in his "Eebellion". As Ward says, "the villain
of the play bears the time-honoured name of Machvile" ; J )
but he bears only the name. The author had merely heard
of Machiavelli; certainly, he had never read him, or he
would have cited the "fox-and-lion", or "better-be-feared-
than-loved" maxim: but no knowledge of the Principe is
shown. Nathaniel Richards in his commendatory verses
"Proud daring 1 rebels in their impious way
Of Machiavellian darkness this thy play
Exactly shows." Dods. XIV. p. 5.
Thus to his fellow dramatist, - - or rather, fellow
dramaticaster, this Count Machvile was a true Machiavellian
rcdivims ! Rawlins made a great eifort to create a villain, 2 )
>) Ward IL 358.
2 ) Mach.) "Heart, wilt not burst with rage, to see these slaves
Fawn like to whelps on young Antonio,
And fly from me as from infection? Death,
Confusion, and the list of all diseases, wait upon your
Till you be ripe for hell, which when it gapes,
May it devour you all: stay, Machi'vel,
Leave this same idle chat, it becomes woman
That has no strength, but what her tongue
Makes a monopoly; be more a man,
Think, think; in thy brain's mint
Coin all thy thoughts to mischief:
That may act revenge at full.
Plot, plot, tumultuous thoughts, incorporate;
Beget a lump, howe'er deform'd, that may at length,
Like to a cub lick'd by the careful dam,
Become (like to my wishes) perfect vengeance.
Antonio, ay, Antonio nay, all,
Eather than lose my will, shall headlong fall
Into eternal ruin; my thoughts are high.
Death, sit upon my brow; let every frown
Banish a soul that stops me of a crown." I, 1 (18).
but "the careful dam" evidently did not have saliva enough
to lick this "deform'd lump" into a cub. Machvile aspires to
the crown, and has Antonio, by his deceit, in a rage inno-
cently kill the Governor; he then becomes Governor himself,
plots with the Moorish General Eaymoud of the French to
obtain and share France and Spain, then treacherously has
him killed, and is stabbed by him dying. He feigns repen-
tance long enough to kill Antonio, and then dies cursing. l )
Rawlins was so afraid the audience might forget his villain
was a Machiavel, that he calls him a dissembling traitor
some twenty odd times, nor can the insipid fool utter a
rank sentence without, "Stay Machiavel", "Up Machiavel",
or "Hold Machiavel", which he repeats over and over again.
Nabbes again made mention of Machiavelli in another
play, "The Unfortunate Mother".
Corvine.) for hitherto
Fortune hath bin my Matchiaveile, 2 ) and brought
Events about I never practls'd for." V. 3 (Bullen II, 153).
i. e. those who stood in the way of Corvino's ambitious
schemes had been removed by chance, as if Fortune were
*) This is his only traditional Machiavellian trait: such liberality
with others' goods as he would make with those of Antonio and Evadue :
- "his and her goods, to gild
My lawless doings, I'll give the poor, whose tongues
Are i' their bellies" III, 1 (47).
is recommended in the "Principe" XVI, but Eawlius would hardly
have taken this idea alone from it if the same had been known
2 ) Bullen remarks "M. whom our old writers regarded as the
typical arch-plotter." Cf. Sedley: "The Mulberry Garden" V, 1 (99).
Everyoung.) (Forecast having been arrested on suspicion.) "This
is the happiest accident that ever befel mortal, for
an old notorious round-head to be taken for a cavalier
at this time : why I ne'er thought it had been in you,
this was a stratagem might have become Machiavel
his arch-plotter. Although it is expressly stated in the
proeme, *) that there is no political treachery in this play,
yet the indirect influence of Machiavelli it to be seen in
two passages, containing favourite maxims of the dramatic
villains. First: the hypocritical-egoistic theory.
Corvino, having hired Cardente to poison Fidelio and
the Duchess informs Notho of it: -
Notho.} "Could you have such a conscience?
Cory.) Nice religion
Awes not a Politician. They both stood
Betwixt me and my end." V, 1 (148).
Second: the "cut-off-all-accomplices" principle.
Corvino, having raised Notho to the throne, is bidden by
him to kill himself for his crimes:
Corv.) " 'Tis a command
Becomes a Prince: and chiefly such a one
As makes it scruple to preserve his rayser,
Or to connive at a slight petty sin
Whose execution hath confirm'd his title." V, 1 (141)).
Shirley referred once more to Machiavelli, and this
time again with ridicule in ''The Constant Maid".
Playfair says of Hornet, after he lias been cozened
like Mount-Marine in Fletcher's "The Noble gentleman" : -
"Now he looks
As he did scorn the quorum, and were hungry
To eat a statesman. 'Las! an office in
The household is too little for a breakfast;
A baron, but a morning's draught; he'll gulp it,
Like a round egg in muscadine. Methinks
At every wiping of his mouth should drop
A golden saying of Pythagoras;
"Here is not any glorious Scene of state,
No Politician tells his plots unto
Those in the Pit, and what he meanes to do/'
A piece of Machiavel 1 ) I see already
Hang on his beard, which wants but stroking out:
The statutes, and the Magna Charta, have
Taken a lease at his tongue's end."
IV. 3 (Giff.-Dyce IV, 507).
This is nothing 1 but irreverent mockery; still Shirley
clung to some of the traditionary maxims. In "The Im-
posture" is cited the much-used idea of perjury.
Flav.) - "princes are not
Obliged to keep what their necessities
Contract, but prudently secure their states,
And dear posterity." I, 1 (Giff.-Dyce V, 186).
Again, in "The Doubtful Heir" Leandro says:
'As great offices, and high
Employments, do expose us to most danger,
They oft teach those possess them a state wisdom;
And by inherent virtues of the place,
Our fear to lose makes us secure ourselves
By art more often, than by conscience." II, 1 (IV, 296).
This sounds as if it might have been taken directly
from the "Principe". But most of Shirley's villains, like
(Beaumont and Fletcher's, are engaged in the same pursuit 2 )
J ). Of. Etherege : "She wou'd if She cou'd" IV, 2 (149).
Freemann (Lady Cock wood having caught him and Courtal with
Ariana and Gatty bj r Mrs. Sentry's stratagem)
"This is Modern Matchiavil. I suspect Courtal.
Court.} D\ay 'tis her Plot doubtless;"
.also Gibber: "The Lady's Last Stake" III, 2 (ed. 1760: II, 239).
Lord Wronglove (of Lord George's foolish design upon Miss Notable) :
"Faith, 'tis a glorious one all Machiavel was Boys-play to it."
2 ) Flav.) "A thousand wheels
Move in my spacious brain whose motions are
Directed by my ambition, to possess,
And call Fioretta mine; while shallow princes
I make my state decoys, then laugh at them."
"The Imposture." I, 1 (V. 188).
Meyer, Machiavelli. 11
denounced by Machiavelli ; his own idea of political history
seems to have been:
"There is no trust to policy or time:
The things of state are whirl'd by destiny
To meet their period: art cannot repair them."
Ibid. p. 295.
In an excellent comedy of this year too little known,,
"The Knave in Graine New Vampt" ! ), Machiavelli is face-
tiously reverted to:
Julio, the knave, making Anthonio jealous by a false-
'I hold with Machievel, for fame or profit
To break oath or league with friend,
Or Brother; there's nothing gainful bad." II, 1.
But the merry fellow knows no more of Machiavelli
than this, which was a reminiscence of Marlowe, as the
fact, that he is called "Mephistophiles" 2 ) and "Faustus", s >
By 1641 even the popular non-dramatic literature of
the day began to take this same tone of ridicule : in a tract *}
attributed to Heywood we find:
') "The Knave in Graine New Vampt. A Witty Comedy, Acted
at the Fortune many dayes together with great applause. Written by
J. D. Gent 1640."
2 ) Pusse.) "Thou art the very meere Mephistopholus" IV, 1.
3 ) A Country Fellow.) "He is more than .... a Doctor Faustus
or Mephostophilus." V, 1.
4 ) "Machiavel as He lately appeared to his deare Sons, the Mo-
derne Projectors. Divulged for the pretended good of the Kingdomes
of England, Scotland and Ireland" 1641.
Vide: Halkett andLaing: Die. of Anon, and Pseud. Lit. "Another
copy appeared in the same year, with the title of Machiavel's Ghost as
he appeared - " II, 1531. This tract was probably not by Heywood r
as Hazlitt (Hand-book 366) conjectures, but by Taylor. See Lowndes,
III, 1438: also "Cat. of Huth Lib." Ill, 891.
''Nicolaus Machiavelus Bilectis Filijs suis Projectoribus salutem &c.
And why my dear Off-spring should you feare to fall,
Who dares disturbe iny Darlings, or compell
Them 'fore their times to take their Thrones in hell,
Sweet Sons of Policie, whose glorious traine
Flew like Minerva from my Jove-like braine;
But to incourage you, deare children, looke
On my last Legacy, this little Booke,
Which now emergent from the Presse does shew
Your noble qualitie, how just, how true
You are to th' State, what wages you doe pursue
For your owne profits: so deare Sons farewell;
Ere long I hope to welcome you to hell."
Then follows a description of the various projectors:
a specimen J ) will serve to show there was no use made of
Machiavelli in this prose and poetry pamphlet, the title
being only a catchpenny. So also to this year probably
belongs the undated poem of George Daniel already
mentioned in which Machiavelli is thrice ridiculed:
; 'Yet, if a politicke Whisper, beat an Ayre
Upon his Perucke, he [the Discerner] Accosts you bare ;
*) "The Coale Projectors Were of a hot constitution, abhor'd
good fires here, because they were sure of a large one hereafter. Their
consciences were like their Coole-pits, deep, and ful of darknesse in
which they desired to continue, for they would admit of no fire-light,
but such as was dearly paid for, fortie shillings a Chaldron being a
charitable price for their farre-fet Fuell: which though deare bought
was hardly good for Ladies : They were meere Salamanders, that though
[they] liv'd by fire themselves could hardly afford it others, having a desire
to reduce the world to a chaos, and make all the yeare winter : But like
Hamaan hang'd on his owne Gallowes, their owne Coales has consum'd
them almost to ashes, and the pit which they digged for others, they
are like to fall into themselves; where we let them rest till they have
cool'd their finger's ends." D. 3.
And gives a formall greeting's cautious Hum
To but Name Machiavel." ') Idyll f>. (Grosart IV. 230.;
Stood to amuse the world, and bladder out
Light Braiues. The Florentine with one Lei; 1 Sticks
Keeping- the dirty Roode." 2 ) (Gros. IV, 7.)
"And State-Subverting Magicke has a feate
Beyond all Kule was ever spoken yet.
The Florentine prescribes to duller fooles:
But Stronger flow from all relaxed Soules."
"Hilas and Strephon." (Gros. II, 200).
Ill another pamphlet 8 ) of this time even the custom
of calling a dishonest man a Machiavel is denounced as
] ) Of. "The Loyal Garland" 1686 (Percy Soc. 89. p. 7).
"When our brains well liquor'd are,
Then we charm asleep our care;
Then we account Machevil a fool with his plots.
And cry there's no depth but the bottom o'th' pots."
-) As Grosart (ibid. 248) remarks, "the allusion is obscure".
:5 ) "The Atheistical Politician or A Brief Discourse concerning
Nicholas Machiavel." Har. Misc. IV, 441. This is an ingenious defence
of Machiavelli: its object being to brand Strafford and Laud. His vin-
dication is this, "being to make a grammar for the understanding
of tyrranical government, is he to be blamed for setting down the ge-
neral rules of such princes Indeed if any can pretend a just
quarrel with Machiavell, they are Kings ; for as it is the ordinary course
of light women, to find fault with the broad discource of that they
maintain their power by; so Statesmen may best blame the publication
of these Maximes. .... Yet Machiavell saith .... hast thou made thy-
selfe already an euemie to God and thy people, and hast nothing to
hope for, beyond the honor of this world, therefore to keep thee from
the fury of men be sure thou art perfectly wicked". [It is very in-
teresting to note that this is just what Grillparzer said of the Principe
(Grill, ed. Cotta XVI, 112)] "the truth is, this man hath raked too
farre in this, which makes him smell as he doth in the nostrils of igno-
rant .people : whereas the better experienced know, it is the wholesome
savour of the court especially when the Prince is of the first head." pp.
46 Brit. Mus. Copy dated 1642.
"He, that intends to express a dishonest man, calls
him a- Machiavillian, when he might as justly say,
a Straifordian, or a Cantibirian : we embrace the first
apparition of virtue and vice, and let the substance
pass by untouched For if we examine the
Life of Leu-is the 11 th of Franw, we shall finde he
acted more ill, than Machiavill writ, or for ought
we know ever thought; yet he hath wisedome
inscribed on his Tomb." Brit. Mus. copy, p. 4.
And in the drama of this year horribile didn the
ingratitude of humanity ! - - he, whose awful name had for
so long made the cold shivers run down the audience's back,
even he is called an ass : - - "but, masters, remember, that
T am an ass Bring him aAvay. 0, that T had been
writ down an ass!"
Ayathocles (of Mazares):
"Machiavel, thou art an ass, ') a very ass to him" (aside).
Tatham : "The Distracted State". I, 1 (Drain, of Res. I, 46).
And this is doubly insulting, for Mazares is a very,
weak villain: his only policy to preserve himself and his
empire from ruin is, --to commit suicide! Never-the-less,
in the play itself occur again and again 2 ) two of the time-
honored maxims; to make away with accomplices and to
use deception. As Oleander says of him :
That only art employed to carry me
Unto my bliss, thyself unto destruction !
He's held an animal has no deceit
In these times to make his own fortune great." V, 1 (88).
1 ) Cf. Settle: "A Narrative" p. 5.
'how sillily and awkwardly these asses, these Matchiavils put
their Noddles together."
2 ) Five diiferent tyrants usurp the crown in succession by deceit,
(Mazares, Archias, Oleander, Agathocles, and Antanter), and each would
he rid of his respective councillor and right hand man. Tatham says
the play was written in 1641 : it was published (remodelled ?) in 1651
as the editor says against Cromwell. Intro. 35.
After having called poor old Machiavel an ass, there
was nothing left now but to most ignominiously shuffle him
off the stage. And so in Marmion's "Antiquary", Bravo,
Aurelio's noble father, disguised as a malcontent, thus,
dismisses him: -
"Well, go thy ways, old Nick Machiavel, there wiir
never be the peer of thee for wholsome policy and
good counsel. Thou took'st pains to chalk men out
the dark paths and hidden plots of murther and
deceit, and no man has the grace to follow thee:
the age is unthankful, thy principles are quite
forsaken and worn out of memory."
III. (Dods. XIII, 458.)
And indeed "old Nick Machiavel" did "go his ways" off
the stage and out of dramatic literature, in which we hear
no more of him for ten years. At this point, the discussion
on hand practically ends ; the theatres were closed Sept.
2 nd 1642 and the drama, though not dead, became torpid, to
say the least, until its re-awakening at the Restoration.
For the sake of clearing up one or two points, however, it
seems advisable to continue the research to the death of
Shirley in 1666.
In the next year (1642) Machiavelli can be mentioned
without the least aspersion.
"Touching Commines, who was contemporary with
Machiavel, 'twas a witty speach of the last Queen
Mother of France, that he made more Heretiques in
Policy, than Luther ever did in Religion. James Ho well :
"Instructions for Forreine Travell". Arber 16 p. 23.
The mere name was again used as a catch-penny title, ] )
which runs. "A Machavillian Plot, or A Caution for
! ) This \vas often done later. See Alliboiie II, 1171 : ''The Crafts-
mau". Oct. 5. 1734. In 1683, "Matchiavel Junior".
England". This was a tract urging the King to build
fortresses 1 ) and was issued to feed the animosity against
Charles in 1642.
Sir Thomas Browne also alluded to Machiavelli this
year in his "Christian Morals".
"Though I have no great opinion of Machiavel's
learning, yet I shall not presently say that he was
but a novice in Eoman history, because he was
mistaken in placing Commodus after the Emperor
Severus." 2 )
Saintsbury "Hist. Eliz. Lit." 341. (Wilkin IV. 81.)
Taylor as late as 1644 still held tenaciously on to the
old tradition, citing Machiavelli as in the devil's pay.
"First you (Maister John Booker) threaten us, that
John Pym's ghost shall haunt us, and hunt us out of
Oxford Short-lye, but this your Short-lye is a Long-
lye, a Broad-lye and a Round-lye. For we at Oxford
doe know the Ghosts of all such Pestiferous Rebels to
be attendants upon their old maister, and receiving
their wages with Achitophel, 3 ) Machiavell etc"
"No Mercurius Aulicus" (p. 3 Spen. Soc. 2 nd Col.).
') Cf. Gentillet III, 33 and Prin. XX. Arte d. Guer. YII (396) :
Disc. II, 24 (268). There is not a word about Machiavelli. except in
the title; but the piratical publisher remembered either from Gentillet or.
the Florentine himself, that this building of fortresses had been dis-
cussed in the "Principe".
2 ) Later on, Browne condemned Machiavelli's bold attack upon
"We applaud not the judgement of Machiavel, that Christianity
makes men cowards". Hydriotaphia (Wilkin III, 487).
3 ) Cf. "The Badger in the Fox-Trap". (Scott in Dryden IX, 200)
where is said of Shaftesbury:
"Besides, my titles are as numerous
As all my actions various, still, and numerous.
Some call me Tory, some Achitophel,
Some Jack-a-Dandy, some old Machiavel/'
Francis Quarles also used, or made reference to a use
of Machiavelli in the old way. *)
The popular literary hack Taylor never got out of the
old rut: thus in "A Letter sent to London from a Spie at
Oxford" 2 ) we find: -
"You, M. P/jm, have made your wisedome perspicu-
ously famous, You have outdone the Roman Cataline.
You have overmatched old Nicholas llackiacil the
Florentine, and renowned Guido will be forgot/'
In a ballad of the year 1647 an author, (Sir Francis
Wortley?), thought it more apposite to term hypocritic
Dryden never cites Machiavelli : in the -i Essay upon Satire" fa-
thered upon him, it is written of Shaftesbury :
"As by our little Machiavel we find,
That ninihlest creature of the busy kind." Ibid. XV, 208.
See also "Oceana and Britannia" wrongly attributed to Marvel : .
- "a reverend sire appears,
His name I ask'd; he said, Politico,
Decended from the divine Nicolo."
Marvell ed. Gros. I, 446.
*) "Dr. Surges : . . . . Again, let such as be zealous sticklers for
Democraticall, or Aristocraticall discipline, consider how ill the Church
can be governed by one policy, and the Commonwealth by another.
Calumniator] Our Doctor is grown a Machiavilian, and forgets that
Piety is the best Policy." "The Whipper Whipt." (Grosart I, 166.)
Another example in "Hell's Hurlie-Burlie", where the Devil say*
of the Pope: -
"This Machiavell far exceeded us in wickednesse." p. 3.
2 ) Grey in Butler (240) says this was in 1643, but the Brit. Mus.
copies are all of 1645. Grey also says: "It is observed by a spy at
Oxford, to Pym 1643 .... That they [sic! which they?] have over-
matched old Nicholas Machiavel." -- Nothing of the kind is observed.
Taylor is denouncing Pym. Taylor's pun is the time-honored one:
this linking of Cataline and Machiavel is interesting a propos of
villains "Jews of Malta", than by the old cant word
"Machiavellians" : this is peculiarly interesting ; he evidently
saw the absurdity of the old tradition, and also what had
given rise to it: i. e. Marlowe's Jew.
' ; But, oh! these subtle men 1 ) must not
(Above all others) be forgot,
We Jewes of Malta call;
Who lately have a new trick found,
To make men for their owne compound; -
These get the Devill and all."
Polit. Ballads ed. Wright (Percy Soc. p. 28).
In this year also was made a translation of Belphegor. 3 )
It is surprising, that Machiavelli was so seldom cited
in popular literature by the Loyalists against the Cromwellists
and vice versa. It must be concluded, the name no longer
possessed the charm it once had. But one case was noted
in 1649. Charles we have already seen denounced as a
Machiavellian; this time the same is said of Cromwell:
; ' 'Tis high contempt not for to Fast and pray,
And hold as blest Saint CromweVs Holy day,
^.In another place is said of them:
"To hate all good and hugge all evill,
In an angel's shape to outact the Devill,
With all kinds of baseness to comply,
And make the whole realm a monopoly,
To laugh at conscience
And be quite void of sence,
Now church and state they've in pieces rent,
To breake all kind of trust,
And to do nothing that is just,
Are some priviledges of this Parliament." Ibid. 22.
2 ) ; 'The Devil a Married Man, or the devill hath met with his
Match. 1647." It may .as well be stated here as elsewhere that the
writer found in the Brit. Mus. an excellent versification (hitherto appa-
rently unknown to scholars) of Machiavelli's novelette called "Hell upon
Earth, or the Devil tir'd with Matrimony. London 1718."
The Devils a saint, if he deserves to be
One for his Machivillian Treacherie."
"The Loyall Subjects Jubilee" p. 56.
Taylor, who never tired of the once popular catch-
word, brought it in as usual in 1651 :
"Some man ere hee'd be cal'd a Puritan,
Will turne a damned Machiavilian,
A Libertine, Papist, or else what not?
To keep his name from so impure a blot."
After an almost complete silence of seven years appeared
a pamphlet, "Modern Policies, taken from Machiavel, Borgia,
and other choice Authors, by an eye-witnesse". In the
"Epistle Dedicatorie" we read: -
"It does to me a little relish of Paradox, that wher-
ever I come, Machiavill is verbally curs'd and
damn'd, and yet practically imbrac'd and asserted."
Then follow ten maxims, given and refuted or denied, *)
just as in Gentillet, which the author certainly had before
him either in the original or in Patericke's translation.
This refutation may have revived some interest in its
subject; at any rate in this same year mention was again
made of Machiavelli in the drama after a long silence. 2 )
Cosmo Manuche in his "Loyall Lovers" cited him somewhat
in the old way.
Gripeman, (when he learns his daughter Letesia lost
and is denounced by Sent- well), cries:
l ) E. g. "Machiavel .... advised .... The Polititian must have
the shadow of Religion, but the substance hurts Colasterion : But
let all sober Christians know, that this shell of Religion, though it may
be of external conducement, yet there is nothing that God's pure and
undeluded eye looks on with more abhorency." p. 7.
*) To be sure, but few plays were written between 1642 and 1660.
"0 my brains, my brains.
Great Lucifer, I do conjure thee, summon Boniface,
Mahomet, Copernicus, Matchiavil, Ecphantm,
and all thy learned Politicians in thy black Caos to invent a
torment (yet unheard of) to inflict upon this slave." IV, 1 (41).
In the next year Shirley once more referred to the
religious-hypocrisy principle: -
Mendoza.} "but duty and religion
Are handsome visors to abuse weak sight.
That cannot penetrate beyond the bark,
And false complectiou of things."
"The Court Secret" IV, 3 (Giff.-Dyce V, 2194).
In 1654 Whitlocke referred en passant to "Machiavells"
in the old manner:
"But all the Machiavells on this little Turfe, ....
I can silence with that oraculous, ingenious Apologie
of my Lord Bacon"
"Zootomia" p. 178 apud Fennel: Stand. Die.
Two years later appeared "A Discourse upon Nicholas
Machiavel: or, An impartial examination of the justnesse
of the censure commonly laid upon him." It was merely
a second enlarged edition of a previous tract. *) The author
added here, what has often been intoned since, and what
gave rise to much of the Elizabethan "scare" : the injustice
of considering the "Principe" alone without regarding
Machiavellrs other works:
J ) "The Atheistical Politician" (ante p. 164) : it appeared a third
time as "The Vindication of that Hero of Political Learning, Nicholas
Machiavel. The Second Tacitus," by. James Boevey Aetatis 71. 1692,
Har. Misc. X. 183. He was, of course, the author of all three editions
under separate titles.
"He was Secretary to the State of Florence, [sic !]
of which he hath left an incomparable History, with
other Bookes; so full of Truth, Learning and Ex-
perience, that the hand of Detraction hath not been
able to asperse them; onely it endeavours to attack
some stragling expressions in a small Pamphlett,
called his Prince, which are with farre lesse charity
remembered, than so many larger and better pieces
forgotten." p. 121.
In the next year (1657) was published a second edition
of the "Modern Policies". J )
The idea of ridiculing Machiavelli, so marked in the
last years of his real stage existence, was now revived for
the last time in the drama of the period under discussion
by Aston Cokaine in "Trapolin Creduto Principe: or Trappo-
lin suppos'd a Prince". Among the Dram. Pers. are found :
, ., - two noble Florentines. 2 )
Ward :i ) remarks on this play, "It will interest
those who like to note the vitality of dramatic traditions
to observe that the Duke of Florence in Cokaine's piece,
during whose absence the sham Duke plays his pranks,
leaves behind him as one of his lieutenants "the lord
Machavil", "one of those that doth in Florence nourish
vice". Now 7 we have seen that the vitality of this drama-
tic tradition had been sapped very dry some eighteen years
previous, when it was ridiculed on all sides; but the
historian of English Dramatic Literature had not observed
') Ante p. 170. This 2^ ed. is signed "W. Blois".
a ) In Tate's alteration (1685) the name Machavil was changed to
Alberto, the point of the parody heing no longer perspicuous : the latter
was retained also in the rifacimenti of Drnry (1732), of Ramsay
and in that of 1818.
3 ) II, 450.
this fact. Nor lias he been felicitous in his application of
the above quotation. For if we consider the phrase
"one of those that doth in Florence nourish vice" - we
shall find that it, is spoken not of Machavil at all. but
of Trappolin by Barbarino to Machavil as the citation
Barberino and Machavil have been left in charge of
Florence during the Duke's abscence: the former has liad
Trappolin arrested :
"Enter Barbarino, Machavil, Mattemores, and Officers,
leading Trappolin after them.
Bar.) This man, Lord Machavil, is one of those
That doth in Florence nourish vice: he is
A pander, one that, if he sees a stranger.
Straight makes acquaintance with him, for what end
Yourself may guess. So he may gain thereby.
He would betray our daughters, lead our sons
To brothels, vicious and full of rottenness.
Tra.) I wonder how the devil he came to know anything that I did.
Bar.) This writing yesternight was presented to me.
Here you may see what enormities he is guilty of.
Tra.) His lordship would show himself a great hater of bawdry.
Mac.) 'Tis good we did examine him." I, 2 (Dram, of Rest. 128).
Machavil does anything but "nourish vice", he is
simply a parody on the Florentine Statesman. This cari-
cature proves conclusively, what has before been seen, that
the view taken of Machiavelli had changed from awful
reverence to irreverent ridicule - - from one extreme to
In this play Machavil and Barberino are merely the
puppets with which Trappolin, charmed into the Duke's
shape by his "natural father", Mago the magician, makes
the fun of the play.
There is not one word of Machiavellianism in the play,
and "wise Machavil", as the real Duke sarcastically calls
him. is made sport of at eveiy turn. Let this suffice :
Barbarino wishes to punish Trappolin for pandarism ;
Miuthavil tries liim: -
Mac.) "Ere we come to this pandarism, I'll examine him about other
matters. Sir, do you never use to carry pistols about you?
Tra.) Sometimes, and please your excellence, I do.
Bar.) Write down that, notary.
Tra.) What does your lordship mean? I did not steal them.
Mac. } I know well enough what I do. Sirrah ! you want to shoot
Tra) Beseech your honour to take me along with you : I mean
Mac.) That's vain ! then, notary, tear it out,
Bar.) Do you ne'er carry other arms neither?
Tra.) Many times, my lord.
Bar.) Notary, down with it! he shall be talk'd with for that.
Tra.) Your honour is deceiv'd again: I meant only arms upon seals.
or scutcheons from heralds.
Mac.) This is nothing, notary: tear it out!" I, 2 (128).
This is bad enough and degenerates into horse-play
in II, 3 (150), where Trappolin supposed the prince calls : -
Sirrah Barberino! hold by Mach's breeches, and
stoop, for on thy back will I ride to my palace."
and thus Trappolin rides to the Duke's palace on the very
men who had banished him.
More need not be said to prove this a parody on the
man with whose works Ookaine was acquainted as he him-
self states elsewhere. *)
In the next year (1658) Cowley made a facetious use
') "It appears that Cotton's library contained some of the h-st
Italian authors, as Cokayne says in one of his effusions, -
D'Avila, Bentivoglio, Guicciardine,
And Machiavil the subtle Florentine,
In their originals, I have read through,
Thanks to your library and unto you:
The prime historians of late times; at least,
in the Italian tongue allow'd the best.''
'Walton and Cotton's Complete Angler", ed. Nicholas CLXYI.
of the Florentine's reputation for craft in his "Cutter of
Puny says to Aurelia after she has outwitted him
into marrying her instead of Lucia :
"I'll out: Uncle Father your Blessing my little
Matchiavil, I knew well enough 'twas you: What
did you think I knew not Cross from Pile."
V, 13 (ed. 1721 : p. 827).
This was but a reminiscence of the grand old drama,
of Jonson 1 ) and Marlowe 2 ), to whom Cowley's genius looked
back with longing eyes.
In 1659 was published "My Lord Whitlock's Reports
on Machiavil: or his recollections for the use of Students
of Modern policy". This was simply a lampoon on Whit-
locke, in which Machiavelli was neither mentioned nor
used, except in the title as a jest.
In a broadside of the next year the old ideas were
again brought to light: -
"One [Gen. Monck] that is verst in honest politics,
And deeply hateth such pedantick tricks
As Murder, Rapine, Perjury, which crimes
Were in vile Cromwel's and the Rumper's times
*) Jonson was the first to call a woman a Mach. V. ante, p. 89.
Cf. the popular catch of a later day.
"All the subtle lime twigs laid
By Machiavel, the waiting maid;"
also Addison in Spectator 561.
2 ) Marlowe's heroes are often referred to:
e. g. Puny) "but I'm the very Jew of Malta, if she [Aurelia]
did not use me since that, worse than I'd use a rotten
apple." II, 4 (762).
Again: Puny calls this same Aurelia (the "little Matchiavil"
of V, 13)
- "that little Mephostophilus." Ill, 2 (787).
Accounted godliness, and in wrong sense
Stil'd acts of Heaven's gracious Providence:
But now (I hope) we shall be freed from th' Spell
And witching ('harms o' th' Devill and Machiavel.
They must invent new sleights, a cloak that's stronger.
Religion will vayle vileny no longer:
All men have found their false knavery out,
But noble George hath put them to the rout."
"The Entertainment of Lady Monk at Fisher's Folly.''
Collier: 1 ) Illus. II, 33.
In this year was printed a drama, "The Faithful
Friends", doubtfully ascribed to Beaumont and Fletcher.
It is full of gross anachronisms; 2 ) in it Marcus Tullius
says of King Titus Martius, supposing him the author of
Eufinus' plan for his betrayal and murder: -
"And let us stud} r how to be revenged
On this injurious king, King Machiavel." IV, 1 (Darley 546).
The king's villainy, like that of most of Beaumont and
Fletcher's kings, is seeking to prostitute a subject's wife,
and was denounced as fatal in the "Principe". Eufinus
is an arch-villain ; his daring scheme to have Marcus killed
and Eome betrayed to ease his petty jealousy, out-Machia-
vels even Elizabethan Machiavels.
Cowley, about 1661 in his "Discourse concerning the
Government of Oliver Cromwell", 3 ) referred to Machiavelli.
*) This passage contains the old ideas, and is unique in containing
them at so late a date; the poems appeared first in Collier's ' ; Illu-
.strations of Early Eng. Pop. Lit." "from original Broadsides in the
editor's possession, and he knows of no other copies of them." Verbnrn
2 ) E. g. Pergamus, hanging up his arms in Mars' temple, speaks
of John of Gaunt and (mildhall thousands of years before they were
3 ) In the same tract (Wley mentioned him again a propos of
< ataline, which is interesting for Henry VI.
"And since I happen here to propose Cataline .... give me
leave to transcribe the character which rieero gives of this
but again displayed the influence Marlowe - Gentillet had
upon him by mixing up the idea of his teaching how to
"get riches" with that of obtaining the "supreme place".
The spirit of Cromwell says: - - ! am glad you
allowe me at least artful dissimulation and un-
wearied diligence in my hero ; and I assure you that
he whose life is constantly drawn by those two
shall never be misled out of the way of greatness
.... Was ever riches gotten by your golden medio-
crities? or the supreme place attained to by virtues
that must not stir out of the midde ? Do you study
Aristotle's politics, and write, if you please, comments
upon them : and let another but practice Machiavel : J )
and let us see then which of you two will come to
the greatest preferment." Chalmers VII, 185.
One more reference in non-dramatic literature remains
to be discussed. Butler in his "Hudibras" has these
"Nick Machiavel had ne'er a trick,
(Though he gave name to our old Nick.)
But was below the least of these", [of the Cavaliers].
Chandos Classics p. 240.
As Grey remarks :
,,Warburton is of the opinion, that this is a blunder
of the editor' 2 ) to suppose the devil was called
Old Nick, from Nick Machiavel the Florentine (but
it was certainly the mistake of the author, who
continued it in every edition of his life) who lived
noble slave, because it is a general description of all am-
bitious men, and which Machiavel perhaps would say ought
to be the rule of their life and actions." Ibid. 187.
*) Ante p. 87 note 3.
2 ) See Todd in Johnson's Die. 1827 sub Nick.
Meyer, Machiavelli. 12
in the 16 th century; whereas they could not but
know, that our English writers before Machiavelli's
time, used the word Old Nick very commonly to
signify the devil: that it came from our Saxon an-
cestors .... and [Warburton] thinks that
"He gave aim to our Old Nick,"
which has a great deal of humour and satire in it,
as supposing Machiavel to be so consummate a
politician as to read lectures to the devil himself,
would be an emendation."
All the numerous editors of "Hudibras" have had their
say on this passage. Warburton's supposition is as far-
fetched and nonsensical as Malone's idea about Marlowe
and Kett. The truth is, this was merely a facetious jest
of Butler, who certainly knew better, but indulged freely
in poetic license. *) That it was often taken for earnest
the following lines prove from a later poem:
"In this prodigal trick, They have outdone Old Nick;
For what he did, he did show
*) See Bohn : "Hudihras" II, 314. "When Machiavelli is represented
as such a proficient in wickedness, that his name hath become an appel-
lation for the devil himself, we are not less entertained hy the smartness
of the sentiment, than we should be if it were supported by the truth
of history. By the same kind of poetical license Empedocles, in the
second canto, is humorously said to have been acquainted with the wri-
tings of Alexander Ross, who did not live till about 2000 years after
him." It is interesting to compare with Butler what "The Free Bri-
ton" (Oct. 10, 1734) says of a letter, called "Nick. Machiavel to Caleb
D'anvers," after bespeaking it "hellish": -
"we must own it to be Nick's, but not MachiaveVs"
Gents. Mag. IV, 538.
Macaulay in his essay actually took Butler's jest in earnest; the
"Nation" of Oct. 22, 1891 seems also seriously to regard Machiavelli as
"The army of his [Machiavelli's] enemies, .... holding fast to
their detestation of "Old Nick".
There title is the same, And so is ther aim
For aught any man doth know."
Butler himself refers several times to Machiavelli in
the regular cant way:
"There is a Machiavilian x ) plot (Tho' ev'ry nare olfact it not)
And deep design in't [The Solemn League] to divide
The well-affected that confide,
By setting brother against brother,
To claw and curry one another." Ibid. 48.
The drama made but two more mentions of Machia-
velli before Shirley's death: in Richard Head's "Hie et
Ubique" he is ridiculed as he was back in the period just
before the closing of the theatres.
Half-witted Contriver, with his "ingenious plots", -
for draining the bogs of Ireland to find vast quantities of
gold etc. etc. says of himself, when Thrivewell intimates
he will adopt him: -
"I am now clearly of the belief, my Mother's imagi-
nation was fixt on Oliver or Mazerin, when she con-
ceiv'd me, or that she long'd to eat five or six leaves
of Machiavel's politick Discourses." IV, 2 (45).
In one of the two plays of Killegrew that were ever
acted, in "The Parson's Wedding", we find:
Captain.) ,,Yes, faith, it was my plot, and I glory in't;
to undermine my Machiavel, which so greedily
swallowed that sweet bait that had this hook."
IV, 2 (Dods. XIV, 483).
This is merely the cant word used of the Parson who
tried to outwit the speaker, but was overreached by "the
Captain and his Wanton". Thus to designate a shrewd,
x ) In "The Court Burlesqued", Carry is called a "cunning Machia-
vilian cuff", (p. 179) and in "Mola Asinaria" Butler speaks of "Machia-
vilian tricks", (p. 305).
or a would-be shrewd person a ) became quite popular in
the post-Restoration drama.
*) Cf. Murphy : "The Way to Keep Him". II, 2 (Mod. Brit. Dram.
Sir Bashful Constant.) "I wear admirably well, Mr. Lovemore.
Love.) Do you!
Sir B.) As young as ever: but I don't let her [Lady Con-
stant] know it.
Love.) Well : If you are discreet in that point, you are a very
Vide ante: Congreve, Farquhar, Etherege, etc. etc.
Cf. Sheridan, "The Duenna" II, 3:
Isaac.) "I'm a Machiavel, a very Machiavel."
Owing to the author's absence in America during the printing of
this work, various mistakes have been left standing, of which the
P. 2, 1. 12: instead of at read as.
5, Note 1, 1. 5: instead of excusabunt read excusabant.
5, Note 1, 1. 11 read : non maxime arridere, eadem tamen si exerceret,
se idem judicare, quod reliqui omnes, quicumque de Regis,
vel Principis viri institutione scripserant, & experientia docet,
breve ejus iraperium futurum ; id quod maxime exoptabat etc.
19, 1. 4: instead of die read de.
19, Note 5, 1. 3: instead of Catab read Cantab.
19, Note 5, last 1.: loco locum.
22, line  read: Ingenij monumenta mei etc.
22, 1. 6 . from bottom : instead of MS read as.
24, last line of text: come read came.
25, 1. 15 read: Lagicalia.
31, 1. 20 read: perhaps lago in.
41, Note 4, 1 7: instead of few read Jew.
47, 1. 9 from bottom: instead of her read his.
BINDING SECT. jut2-
Meyer, Edward Stockton
Machiavelli end the
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